This gown would have been worn as a 'tea gown', as an informal 'at home' dress for the late afternoon, or even as a simple dinner dress. It was made for a member of the Liberty family, who owned the Liberty shop in Regent Street, London. The green and yellow damask was registered as 'Hop and Ribbon' by Liberty's in 1892–3.
In 1884 Liberty's had opened a dress department under the guidance of the designer E. W. Godwin. He was a member of the Aesthetic Movement, which favoured 'artistic' dress for women based on classical, medieval, Pre-Raphaelite and Renaissance clothing. The gown is close to Walter Crane's designs for Aesthetic dress in Aglaeia, the journal of the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union. The 'greenery-yallery' colours are a feature of Aesthetic taste, while the epaulettes and high-waisted, dark green velvet overdress are historical references.
Museum no. T.56-1976