Acquired from the estate of Doris Langley Moore
This outfit belonged to, and was worn by, the costume historian and collector Doris Langley Moore. John Bright bought a number of garments from Mrs Moore and her estate, including two illustrated in her books: a dress of circa 1888 worn by Mai Zetterling in The Woman in Fashion (see Related Images), and a loose-sleeved jacket of circa 1874 worn by the young Vanessa Redgrave in The Child in Fashion. The John Bright Collection also owns a small archive of her books, catalogues and papers.
In the 1930s, Doris Langley Moore was a young married woman who had already become a published author. Inspired by the visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum, she had begun to collect the garments that would form the basis of the Museum of Costume in Bath, which opened in 1963.
The outfit comprises of a two-piece dress and matching jacket with flared three-quarter length sleeves made of fine, brightly-coloured Indian raw silk with floss spots. It is unlined, roughly finished inside, and has non-functional buttons. The jacket has a rip down the centre back which has been mended in the appropriate colours. Care has been taken to place the pattern symmetrically on both the jacket and the long-sleeved bodice, but the skirt has been less successfully matched, suggesting a limited amount of fabric.