Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Mourning ring, ca 1787 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This ring and its pair are inscribed ‘Cease thy tears, religion points on high/ CS ob.25 Jan 1787 aet 70/ IS ob. 18 Sep 1792 aet 72’. They are mourning rings, possibly for a couple with the initials CS and IS who died aged 70 and 72. On the front of the ring, a vase of drooping gem-set flowers symbolises mourning.
Double pocket, 1775-1790 England, Winterthur Museum
There’s something very charming about these. They’re folksy without being that tacky country kitsch style of awful.
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.
Robe, 1780-85 France, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This gown demonstrates the fashionable styles in women’s formal dress of the 1780s. The hoop has changed from the square shape of earlier decades to a round profile. A stomacher is no longer needed, because the gown now meets in the front. The cream silk is adorned only at the edges with an embroidered band, ribbon and a stencilled fringe. This restraint in decoration illustrates the growing influence of the Neo-classical style in textile design.
Afternoon dress, ca 1785 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
In the 1770s and 1780s printed cotton fabrics began to replace silk in popularity for women’s gowns. The material of this gown has a dotted ground and is printed in a repeating pattern of floral sprays. The gown has a fitted back and open front below the waist, revealing a petticoat of the same fabric. The lack of decoration and use of cotton instead of silk indicates that this gown was probably worn during summer afternoons for card games and tea parties, rather than for evening dress.
Formal day dress, ca 1735 England (Spitalfields) (altered 1740’s and 1780’s), the Victoria and Albert Museum
By the 1730s the open robe was beginning to replace the mantua as formal day wear. The beautifully patterned Spitalfields silk indicates a degree of luxury. The accompanying quilted petticoat suggests that the ensemble was probably worn for afternoon tea parties rather than in the evening at the opera or theatre. The pattern of the silk, with pear-shaped fruits and exotic flowers, is typical of the 1730s. The gown itself was altered in the 1740s and probably again in the 1780s.
Bonnets, 1780 France, Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français
Row 1: Bonnet au Hérisson, Baigneuse en Marmotte
Row 2: Bonnet rond à la Paysanne, le même Bonnet ou de côté
Louis Joseph Xavier François of France and Marie Thérèse Charlotte of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1784 France, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
Click for a bigger image - Not found at the source because of Joconde’s notoriously awful image quality.
Madame Élisabeth de France (1764–1794) by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, ca 1787 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Princess Élisabeth of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, ca 1782 France, Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon