Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Gown from silk made by Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763), 1740’s England, altered 1780’s (fabric made in Spitalfields, London), the Victoria & Albert Museum
Originally, the gown was probably a sack back, with loose box pleats at the back to allow for maximum display of the silk pattern. The gown would have been open down the front, with folded-back robings and rectangular cuffs at each elbow. The last conversion in the 1780s to the style of that time was quite clumsily executed, suggesting that perhaps the gown had been handed down to a maid.
Design & Designing
The design is brocaded in coloured silks on oyster-coloured satin. Two large sprays of flowers fill the width of the repeat, linked by upward and downward trails of bright pink berries and rose buds. Among the identifiable flowers are roses, morning glory and auricula. From both sprays the flowers on upward stems are brocaded in shades of pink, fawn, lilac, white and black, while those hanging down are in shades of blue, yellow and red. A variety of greens colour the stems and leaves, and the flowers are shaded naturalistically by the weaving technique.
The freelance textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763) received at least 40 commissions for silk designs from a Spitalfields master weaver called Mr Gregory. The design for this silk was one of them. There were a number of members of the Weavers’ Company with the name Gregory, so we do not know his exact identity, but the designs she produced for him are some of Garthwaite’s prettiest and most fashionable, and include patterns for brocaded lustrings, damasks, tissues and satins.