Green chenille pom-poms decorate this silk taffeta spencer and matching dress. They are attached to a continuous silk cord and stitched into place around the collar, cuffs and down the front of the bodice. Their position on each side of the front fastening gives the jacket the appearance of being double breasted. Around the waistband and hem of the skirt of the dress they hang freely, moving with the wearer.

Spencers were short jackets, designed to be worn with dresses. They were cut to the same proportions and were often made of matching materials and trimmings. In this example the spencer opens to reveal a shirred bodice decorated with two pom-poms with delicate embroidered net sleeves.

The spencer was originally a male item of dress worn over a coat for extra warmth. It was popular for country and sporting wear. It came into use in the 1790s and like the female version was short waisted and close-fitting.


  • Title: Dress
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1802/1811
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs E. Sanford
  • Medium: Silk taffeta, trimmed with chenille pom-poms attached to silk cord, partly lined with cotton, embroidered net

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