By the end of the 18th century, rigidly tailored garments for both men and women were replaced by styles made for ease and comfort, resulting in the neoclassical style of the 1780s. Inspired in part by the statuary of ancient Greece and Rome, the new fashion was epitomised by light cotton gowns falling around the body in an unstructured way, held around the high waist with a simple sash and accompanied by a soft shawl draped around exposed shoulders. This style was ideal for the Indian imports like Kashmiri shawls and Bengali muslin, as used in this embroidered gown. Championed by such influential figures as Emma Hamilton in England and Madame Récamier in France, the so-called ‘Empire’ style catapulted Indian muslin into the forefront of fashion.


  • Title: Gown
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1795/1804
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Circumference: 70 cm bust, Length: 141 cm centre front, shoulder to hem, Length: 172 cm centre back, shoulder to end of train, Circumference: 170 cm hem, approximately
  • Provenance: Given by Miss Frances Vickers
  • Medium: Muslin embroidered with cotton thread

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