Manchester Art Gallery

mantua dress

Object description

The open robe of a mantua (missing a matching petticoat and stomacher) cut with a train to be looped up over two buttons either side CB waist. Fronts to be bunched back over these buttons. Elbow length sleeves with pleated cuffs. Bodice lined with linen and faced with blue silk. Some signs of contemporary alteration (train reduced in width). Silk damask can be dated to around 1740-2. The dress originated from the parents of Lady Kylsant (the Morris family) who bought Coomb Mansion in Llanstephan near Carmarthen in Wales in the early 19th century. It seems likely that the dress was included in the sale of the mansion (lock, stock, barrel) by the Davies family who lived at Coomb in the early 18th century. Morgan Davies of Coomb was Mayor of Carmarthen in 1720 and later (1734) High Sheriff of Carmarthen. Mrs Davies would most likely have worn this mantua in a formal capacity accompanying her husband on official duties.