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Woman's gown, brocaded silk

Textile ca. 1740; gown 1770-1776
Origin: Possibly France (textile); worn in New York and New Jersey
A. OL 61"; waist 29 1/2" B. 37 high x 44” wide at hem
Silk; Linen
Gift of Carolyn McMillan
Acc. No. 2015-210,A&B
A and B. Woman's two-piece gown of light yellow silk brocaded in a scattered floral pattern using multicolor silks (greens, purples, blues, pink, yellow, and black). The woven ground has weft-float subpattern of self-colored lacy floral and leafy meanders against a fancy textured ground of ribbing and warp floats. The two garment pieces are trimmed with self-fabric ruching edged with multicolor trimming with spaced hangers (so-called “fly” fringe).

A. The gown has low squared neckline with robings around the neckline and extending down the fronts on either side of a mock stomacher. The stomacher panels are stitched into the gown and open at the center front with replaced hooks and eyes. The stomacher is trimmed with ruching. Elbow length sleeves end in double ruffles edged with gathered and ruched yellow silk ribbon. The full skirt, pleated to the bodice, is open at the center front to reveal a petticoat and trimmed with undulating self-fabric ruching. Back bodice is fitted to torso (so-called “robe a l’Anglaise" or "English back"). The skirt hem is faced with a wide band of yellow silk and the skirt fronts are faced with cream-color silk (fragile). Bodice and sleeves are lined with plain-woven linen.

B. The apron-shaped petticoat panel was cut down from the original petticoat. The panel is wider at bottom, where self-fabric ruching trims the hemline, and is pleated and stitched to narrow tape waistband. The hem is faced with a wide band of yellow silk.
Provenance:This gown was handed down in the family from the original owner, Jane Sloan (Mrs. John Eatton) LeConte (1746-1826). Jane was born in New York and in 1776 married John Eatton LeConte, Sr. (1739-1822), from New Jersey. The couple appears to have lived most of their lives in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. The gown went to Georgia upon Jane's death in 1826, where it was received by her namesake and niece, Jane LeConte, daughter of Dr. Louis LeConte.