Silk Late 1740s

This bodice has been photographed from the back, pieces of the silk at the front having been cut away for reuse before it came into the John Bright Collection. The lively depiction of the brocaded flowers is characteristic of silks woven in the late 1740s, particularly those from the Spitalfields area of London, the centre of the English silk industry where this example may have originated. The light-coloured grounds that set off so many of the botanical designs of English silks were particularly admired by the Lyonais designer and manufacturer Jacques-Charles Dutillieu.

The vivid brocaded motifs are echoed, but not repeated, in a self-coloured design that was created by the introduction of additional warp threads, that ran the length of the fabric, into the weaving process. These fashionable background patterns began to vie with the main designs, despite their lack of colour.

As in many surviving 18th Century examples the silk predates the 1780s style of the garment. The two sides of the front now met at the centre without the need of a stomacher to cover a V shaped opening. The centre back pleats that fitted the bodice of the Robe à l’Anglaise to the body had become so narrow that they were replaced with seams, and no longer extended down in to the skirt, but terminated in a deep point at the centre back of the waist.

Additional Images

  • Bodice