Interactive: Brocaded Silk Gown, by Unknown Maker, about 1735
By the 1730s the open robe was beginning to replace the mantua as formal day wear. The beautifully patterned Spitalfields silk of this hand-sewn gown 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.
Museum no. T.23-1972