This 1760s gown features a rose-red silk with trails of ivory flowers woven in a complex technique. The fabric, a type of silk known as gros de tours, dates from the 1740s, but the gown itself has been remade into the style of the 1760s. It may have started out as a fashionable 1740s sack-back gown and would have featured the ‘wing’ cuff sleeve popular during that decade. In the 1760s, the garment was restyled into the popular English style of gown with pleated back. The cuffs were replaced with single ruffles with scalloped and pinked edges.

Due to the great expense of silk, it was very common practice in the 18th century for women to remake and update their gowns. Gros de tours silks were luxury fabrics in the 1740s, costing between 6 shillings and twelve shillings per yard; a sack-back gown required some fifteen yards of silk.


  • Title: Gown
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1740/1749
  • Location: Spitalfields
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 137.0 cm shoulder to hem at centre back approx, Circumference: 95.0 cm bust under armholes approx, Width: 51.6 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs H. H. Fraser
  • Medium: Silk, linen silk thread, linen thread; hand woven and hand sewn

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