Manchester Art Gallery

dress

Object description

Cotton printed with floral sprays in red, blue, black and ochre. Bodice lined in white linen except CB, lined with white cotton. Lining extending at side fronts to form cross-over flaps. Short sleeves. Top edge gathered with drawstring and with buttons each side to fasten to shoulder. Drawstring at waist each side to tie CB. Given to Nellie Wyld about 1895 by a farmer's wife in Dorset, whose grandmother, a servant, it belonged to.

Display label

Female fashion during the nineteenth century progressed through a startling array of different styles, fabrics and silhouettes. Starting with the classical-style, high-waisted, trained dresses of the 1800s and 10s, fashion gradually moved to fuller skirts and hour-glass figures by the 1830s and 40s, with very large crinoline skirts by 1860. Dresses of the 1870s and 80s had periods of "back interest" created by bustles and pads with short trains, contrasting with styles for fitted princess-line shealth outfits. The 1890s returned to the hour-glass shape of the 1830s with similar very full "leg of mutton" sleeves. Fabric ranged from finely embroidered or boldly printed cotton muslin or calico, to neatly patterned or complex jacquard-woven silk or challis (silk and wool mix); whilst colours varied from the exceptionally bright and brash (using the new analine chemical dyes from the 1860s), to the muted, subtle and "neo-classical".