Manchester Art Gallery

dressing gown

Object description

Pink and fawn damask silk with belt, long sleeves with cuffs (one much worn ), lined with dark green wool damask so that can be worn reversed, second belt in green, two breast pockets in lining.

Display label

This dressing gown or morning gown would have been used as informal "undress" wear by a man of fashion and it shows two intriguing features of recycling: the outer silk fabric is reused from the eighteenth century; and the whole gown can be reversed and worn with the green lining uppermost. The lifespan of the garment would thus be extended by its reversibility, as well as providing variety for the wearer by the contast between green wool damask and pink silk damask. Such a garment is an unusual survival, but attests to the enduring process of recycling of materials throughout history. The pink silk damask dates from the mid eighteenth century and has been re-modelled for use a century later. Such sumptuous silks were frequently reused either contemporarily or by subsequent generations who still admired the beauty of the design and the value of the fabric. Thus evening dresses both around the 1830s and the 1890s often recycle silk damasks or brocades from a century or more earlier.