Dress (skirt and bodice)
Block-printed wool, lined with cotton and the bodice boned with whalebone
Museum no. T.797&A-1913
Given by Messrs. Harrods Ltd
Curling tendrils separated by undulating lines and a lattice work of simulated trimming adorn this block-printed wool day dress. The delicate scrolling shapes of the tendrils reflects the mid-Victorian interest in 18th century Rococo design which incorporated scrolling naturalistic motifs and a lively sense of movement.
The vertical emphasis of the pattern suits the fashionable shaping of the bodice which is pleated over the bust into a V-shaped point at the waist, while its lighter horizontal stripe complements the fullness of the skirt. Many dresses of this date were decorated with trimmings of self-fabric, focusing the eye on the fabric pattern or richness of the material as well as the fashionable silhouette. On this dress, bias cut strips of fabric decorate the bell-shaped ends of the sleeves, and the neckline, shoulder seams, sleeve head and hem of the bodice are carefully finished with self-piping.