This day dress is made of a vibrantly coloured block-printed cotton. Floral prints were very popular in the late 1820s and 1830s. While some designs were quite fanciful, many, like this one, which scatters sprigs of heather alongside stems of marigolds and valerian, were more naturalistic. The vivid red ground was produced by a dye based on madder called Turkey red. The intensity of the colours of the fabric and its exuberant pattern distract the eye from the many flaws in the printing where the design has not been registered accurately, causing over-printing.

The pattern also effectively conceals a panel in the bodice which could be unfastened at the waist and raised for nursing. Although the dress has been adapted for motherhood it follows the fashionable silhouette and its wide shoulderline, created by its modish sleeves, is balanced by a full, bell shaped skirt. The sleeves, which are very full at the arm hole but taper towards the wrist, are finished with self cuffs decorated with gilt buttons.


  • Title: Day dress
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1825/1830
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 129.5 cm nape to hem, Circumference: 59 cm waist
  • Provenance: Given by Miss D. A. Frearson
  • Medium: Hand-made from block-printed cotton and lined with cotton

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