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Woman's gown, black wool damask

1780 to 1800; damask ca. 1740-1760
Origin: America, New York (possibly worn in)
OL: 57 1/2"; waist: 35 1/2"; skirt length: 41 3/4"; selvage width of damask 16 7/8"; chest 41"; shoulder width (back) 11 1/2".
Black worsted damask, lined with several different linens and linen-cotton mixtures: linen at center back; linen at bodice fronts, sides, and sleeves; linen patch under right arm; cotton-linen lining sleeve cuffs. Sewn with linen, black silk, and repaired with blue cotton. Microscopic analysis 7/1998, L. Baumgarten and F. Carr.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1989-446
Woman's gown of black worsted damask in a bold symmetrical floral pattern. Gown has low squared neckline, with front opening in an edge to edge closure. Sleeves are 3/4 length, ending in sewn-down pseudo cuff. At the back, pleats are sewn down at bodice and released into the skirt (so-called "English back" or "Robe a l'Anglaise"). Full skirt made up of 7 widths of material is pleated to bodice with 1 3/8" pleats. Skirt is open at front to reveal petticoat (latter is missing). Skirt hem faced with 2 3/4" reddish brown tabby worsted. Bodice and sleeves lined with several coarse linens and linen-cotton mixture, all plain woven. Photograph shows back of gown.
Label:A widow may have worn this black worsted gown with white accessories, such as a kerchief and sleeve ruffles. Alterations and numerous mended holes are evidence that the garment saw many years of use. Typical of most elaborately patterned worsted textiles, this fabric measures only 17 inches between the selvages.