64.5” CB to hem; 53” from neckline CF to hem; 16.5” underbust, sleeve length 13.5”
Cotton (Identified by eye), linen (lining) (identified by eye)
Acc. No. 2019-27
White cotton gown with coppered and pinned block printed red scrolling grass pattern. Grass is probably red millet or panicum violaceum. The bodice is lined with linen and is secured by drawstring ties. Dress made from three 35” wide panels, with the two side panels joined at the center back extending into a train. The center back is tightly gathered and the side-seams under the arms are folded into pleats with the help of a belt (which is probably not original to the garment), that conceal the pocket openings in the side seams. This also helps to control the fullness and shape of the ungathered fabric. The front panel has an opening down center front; the neckline is secured by loops around buttons (missing) on the exterior sides between bust and shoulder, creating a very Greek stylized neck line. The sleeves consist of a linen sleeve lining, an elbow length undersleeve in the printed cotton, and a shorter gathered over-sleeve also in the printed cotton. All materials identified by eye.
Label:This is one of two gowns, purchased together by reknowned costume collector Doris Langley Moore (1902-1989). Comtempory collector Helen Larson (1915-1998) then purchased them for her collection, before being sold.
Is it believe that these two gowns, made from the same fabric, were worn by the same person or perhaps sisters. They illustrate two different styles being worn in the late 1790s at the same time. This gown has a very square neck line, held in place by buttons and loops, creating a very Neoclassical shape similar to the greek chiton.