Woman's gown, brocaded silk lampas
1726-1728 (textile); 1775-1785 (gown)
Origin: England (textile); worn in Rhode Island
Length 54" Waist 22" Textile width 21"; vertical repeat 18"
Silk "lampas" brocaded with silk; linen bodice and sleeve lining.
Acc. No. 1951-150,1
Woman's gown made of greenish-white silk grosgrain with extra wefts tied down in twill, in an over-all pattern of floral vines and brocaded flower-filled cornucopia in shades of green, pale blue, yellow, and corals. The gown has a closed front intended to be pinned together down center front. The low-cut slightly squared neckline is outlined with pinked-edge ruching. The fitted bodice is finished with rounded tabs below the waistline at center front. Elbow length sleeves are missing their cuffs. Back of bodice, cut in one piece with the center skirt panel, is laid in flat pleats stitched down to below the waistline. Skirt panels are finely pleated with extra fullness at the sides. The full skirt is open in front (to reveal a petticoat worn underneath) and finished with pinked and scalloped edging. The bodice and sleeves are lined with linen. The skirt is unlined, with a narrow hem widening at fronts.
Label:Family tradition stated that Sarah Greene Hill of Wickford, Rhode Island, wore this gown of imported English silk at her wedding. Family tradition further stated that she lived from 1700 to 1760. Judging from genealogical research, however, those dates are incorrect. It is more likely that the gown was first worn by Sarah Greene Hill's grandmother, Sarah Wicks Waterman, who was born in 1700 and married in 1724. The dress was later remade in the style of the late 1770s or early 1780s. The garment was probably remade for granddaughter Sarah Greene (1760-1839) when she married Caleb Hill on January 4, 1784.
The fronts of the open skirt are pinked with a cutting tool that creates scalloped edges and prevents raveling. The intricately quilted petticoat was handed down with the dress; it was probably quilted in Rhode Island.
Provenance:Descended in the family of Sarah Greene Hill of Wickford, Rhode Island. See label copy for genealogical information.