This French dress silk is a complex combination of textures and colors: silver and gold streamers and floral garlands meander across a background that features a brilliant green pattern of a small flowering vine. The textile employs six different metal-wrapped threads, plus twelve colors of silk. The layering of side-by-side streamers with floral sprays and garlands is typical of the 1760s, and the formula was used repeatedly with variations depicting ribbon, lace, or fur. Velvetlike chenille thread was sometimes used instead of metal thread.
When made up into a woman's robe, the textile would have been further embellished with coordinating trim at the front opening of the gown and lace at the neck and sleeves. Trimmings and lace accessories added to the profusion of texture and the play of shiny and dull surfaces.
Artist: Jean-François Oeben (French, born Germany, Heisenberg 1721–1763 Paris)Date: ca. 1761–63Medium: Oak veneered with mahogany, kingwood, and tulipwood, with marquetry of mahogany, rosewood, holly, and various other woods; gilt-bronze mounts; imitation Japanese lacquer; replaced silkAccession: 1982.60.61On view in:Gallery 539