18th Century Painted Silk Gowns

Last updated: Nov 16, 2021

  • Met 1995.235a, b, robe à la française, British, 1740s
  • Royal Ontario Museum 925.18.1.A, robe à la française with petticoat, made in England of Chinese export fabric, 1745-1750
  • National Trust 1362936.1/1362936.2, a sack-backed gown with matching petticoat in “mid 18th century Chinese yellow silk painted with large fantastic flowering plant”
  • Met C.I.54.70a, b, robe à la française, French, 1750-1775
  • V&A T.593:1 to 5-1999, robe à la française (sack back), made in London from silk woven and painted in Guangdong, China, 1760-1765
  • McCord Museum M973.93.1.1-5, robe à la française (the wedding dress of Mary Chaloner), made of silk woven and painted in China, 1763
  • V&A T.115&A-1953, robe à la française (sack back gown), made in Great Britain from silk painted in China, 1760-1770
  • Christie’s Sale 5577, Lot 9, an open robe, stomacher and petticoat of Chinese painted silk, 1760s with some reworking in the 1770s
  • Meg Andrews 8331, a 1770s robe a la anglais made of silk painted in China in the 1750 or 1760s; “The design was drawn in ink and the areas to be painted covered with white lead, then pigments such as malachite (green) and orphiment (yellow) and vermillion (red) and lead white are used … A taffeta silk painted in the 1760s with mid blue, pale blue and ivory convolvulus trellis enclosing sprays of eight different flowers including orange honeysuckle, pinks and roses in deep pink and mauve and a blue star shaped flower.
  • Meg Andrews 8696, a 1770s sack back gown (robe a la francaise) made of hand-painted Chinese silk from the 1760s; “One unusual feature is that the flowers are very much recognisable British flowers, such as roses, carnations (pinks) and lilac, rather than Chinese species … The placing of the design of the silk on the bodice and sleeves has been considered with matching pattern. This is not always the case on 18th century gowns where the design can be quite randomly placed … The ivory silk taffetta hand painted with outlines in ink and painted with pigments. Naturalistic and delicate large flower sprays including roses, carnations or pinks, lilac, bell shaped flowers and others amongst garlands of small flowerheads, using deep pink, dull purple, lemon, mid blue, and two shades of green pigments, the woven selvedges in yellow.”
  • National Trust 1363751, “sack-backed gown of Chinese silk painted with flower posies, birds and butterflies on natural ground,” c. 1770
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1993-330,A, painted Chinese silk woman’s gown, assembled in France c. 1770
  • Maryland Historical Society 1958.3.8, painted silk dress from silk made and painted in China, probably assembled in London, 1770-1780
  • MFA 43.1644a-f, robe à la française (formal dress and petticoat), French, Chinese silk, 1770-1780
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art 1942-33-2, robe à la française (painted silk dress), c. 1770
  • MFA 43.1633a-d, court dress (robe à la française and petticoat), French, Chinese yellow silk taffeta, 1770s
  • Meg Andrews 8174, silk painted by Pheobe Holmes, 1770s
  • Meg Andrews 8674, Chinese painted silk bodice, 1770s; “It is rare to find pieces of dress made from hand painted Chinese silk, so although this piece has changed colour from a lemon to a primrose yellow, the skirt is missing and has been altered, it is nevertheless an interesting piece … Silk bodice hand painted with meandering boughs intertwined with green leafy stems, spiky leaves and small deep pink and puce star like flowers, between small flower and fruit sprigs, all on a primrose yellow silk taffetta ground, the deep scooped neck gathered with cord (not original) and edged with a muslin tape+, the long front opening with linen edging, elbow length sleeves, the back with square neck, three double rows of baleen stifening to the centre back, lined in linen.”
  • Meg Andrews 8174, painted dress silk, 1770s; “These delightful pieces of rare hand painted silk are signed painted by Pheobe Holmes … The ivory silk taffetta hand painted with large ribbon swags in blue green, entwined with a variety of naturalistic flowers including roses, daffodils, primula, morning glory and myrtle, with similar but larger specimens scattered on the ground between the swags.”
  • KCI AC5312 86-8-1AC, robe à la française, pink silk taffeta with painted garlands, France, 1780
  • Met 1976.146a, b, robe à la polonaise, French, 1780
  • Met 1970.87a, b, robe à la polonaise, yellow silk, American, 1780-1785
  • V&A T.108-195, “a woman’s gown of cream silk lustring painted with sprays of naturalistic flowers and butterflies”; silk painted in Great Britain, gown sewn in Scotland c. 1780-1785
  • KCI AC313 77-12-28AB, robe à l'anglaise, white hand-painted china silk, 1785
  • KCI AC3837 81-15-2AD, robe à l'anglaise, silk handpainted in China in the 1760s and made into a dress in England c. 1785
  • Historic Deerfield F.287, robe à l’anglaise made c. 1785 from plain weave cream silk made in painted in China c. 1750-1785
  • Manchester 1952.365/2, open gown and petticoat, silk painted in China and exported to Britain, where it was made into a gown by a mantua-maker 1785-1795; shows signs of contemorary alteration and was worn as late as 1806
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art 1897-666, painted textile from a dress, made in China for export to the Western market, c. 1788
  • MFA 50.147, length of painted silk, made in China in the 1790s
  • MFA 43696a and 43.69b, a painted silk carnival hood and bag