Acquired from Jenny and Malcolm Pearson
This two piece dress, and the Related Item, are part of a collection of 18th and 19th Century garments originally belonging to and worn by the Jane family who were West Country farmers. Comprising a separate high waisted spencer-style bodice and skirt, it follows the fashionable line with a padded band holding the hem of the skirt out, but has minimal decoration in comparison with the related outfit and other contemporary dresses, relying for interest upon the woven sprigged pattern of its fabric. Unable to be supported at hip or waist level, the skirt is ingeniously mounted onto a sleeveless cotton underbodice that takes the weight of the skirt over the shoulders, leaving the bust free, and tying at the back with tapes at the base of a low V neck (See Additional Images; the button fastening is not original). It has been suggested that this construction, together with the fairly generous cut of the front skirt, point to the possibility of its use as maternity wear. The separate bodice is lined with cotton, has a padded silk border to the low neckline, three small piped triangles at each shoulder, and simple lace edging at the wrists.