Nightgowns, which were worn over a shirt, breeches and waistcoat, provided elegance and comfort for men in indoors. The name Banyan points to this article’s Indian origin, they had been imported from India by the East India companies of England, France and the Netherlands since the 17th century. The open coat is made from two long lengths of silk that were sewn in the back without a shoulder seam and drawn forward,where they loosely fall over one another. The long wide sleeves are set in straight and turned up once at the end. A small standing collar frames the neckline. The coat is fully lined. This simple design, derived from the Japanese kimono, highlights the large repeat pattern of the bottle green silk damask. Damask fabrics were very popular in the 1830s and 40s. Their patterns are formed through a bonding interaction, in this case canvas and satin weave. This housecoat was previously owned by ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (1938–1993), with whom Martin Kamer worked together closely from 1974 to 1986. A native of the Soviet Union, Nureyev was considered the biggest classical ballet star of the latter 20th century. He revolutionised the role of the male dancer and initiated a renaissance in classical ballet.


  • Title: Men's Nightgown Banyan
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: ca. 1730
  • Stylistic point of origin: England or the Netherlands
  • Rights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Stephan Klonk │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Christine Waidenschlager
  • Provenance: 2003 Kamer/Ruf collection, 1995 Christie’s, New York, estate of Rudolf Nureyev, Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Length: Fl./bl. 146 cm
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018417
  • Type: Dressing gown
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kunstgewerbemuseum/home.html
  • Medium: Bottle green silk damask, lining: pale green silk, twill weave

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps