COLLECTION: Costume Accessories

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Woman's embroidered stomacher, block-printed backing

1720-1740
Origin: Great Britain
8" W X 13 3/4" L
Silk and metallic needlework on silk satin; block-printed cotton tabby backing.
Gift of Mrs. Cora Ginsburg
Acc. No. 1991-487
Woman's stomacher with silk and metal thread needlework on silk satin with metallic cord overlay in a criss-cross design, bordered with applied braid. The design of the needlework consists of asymmetrical leaves and an undulating stem with a large central flower shading from pinks to red. Six decorative tabs angle down at the lower waistline. Six yellow silk tabs are sewn to the sides for pinning into the front of a gown. The stomacher has a block-printed cotton backing in a repeat pattern of elongated diamonds in black on white (possibly originally purple).
Label:Stomachers were removable decorative panels that filled the void at the front of women's gowns from the breasts to just below the waist. Seldom did early printed cottons survive years of laundering and daily wear, and dark colors of black, brown, or purple were especially vulnerable due to the long-term damaging effects of the mordants used to dye the colors. The rare printed backing endured only because it was used to line a silk embroidered stomacher that was worn infrequently and saved for its beauty.