Cashmere shawls were prized imports from India during the late 18th century. British manufacturers soon began making shawls in similar styles. Not only were they worn with the newly fashionable neo-classical gowns, the shawls were also made into gowns. In this example of the late 1790s, the shawl was cut in half and then sewn together to form the front and back of the gown. Sleeves of cream satin and a collar and over-sleeves of green silk fabric were then added. The waistline is very high, sitting just below the bust line.
Museum no. T.217-1968