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Sarah Maria Wright (1817 – 1908) wore this dress for her marriage to Daniel Neal (1816 – 1907) on 27 July 1841 at St. Nicholas' Church in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire. It was donated together with a spelling book which she inscribed with her name on February 15th, 1826.

In the 1851 census Daniel is described as living at Woad Farm House in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, where he was probably working as a labourer in the production of woad. The dress therefore reveals the type of clothing rural labourers' wives might wear for their weddings. Such objects tend to survive in much smaller quantities than fashionable wedding dress as they would have been worn for Sunday best long after the event, or handed down.

Sarah chose a fashionable design for her dress with its full sleeves, low neckline, gathered shoulders and full skirt. It is, however, made of printed cotton which would have been cheaper than the silks and challis fabrics of costlier wedding dresses. The print is a copy of more expensive designs which again adds interest as such textiles do not tend to survive.

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  • Title: Wedding dress
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1841
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Circumference: 71 cm waist, Circumference: 91 cm bust, Width: 35 cm across back, Length: 32.5 cm bodice, Length: 129.5 cm overall length, Length: 101 cm skirt, Circumference: 320 cm hem, Length: 60 cm outside sleeve, approximate, Length: 50 cm under sleeve, Circumference: 18 cm wristband
  • Provenance: Given by Sheila Battram and Linda Grantham
  • Medium: Block-printed cotton, part-lined with linen, hand sewn

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