Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Robe à la Française

silk, pigment, linen
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.235a, b
Not on view
A perfect example of the robe à la française at mid-century, this hand-painted silk dress displays the opulence, Orientalism, and insatiable baroque excess of the time. Layers build on layers; flowers terrace out from the two-dimensional on the textile, to silk flowers, to nets laden with trapped flowers and floss. The silhouette is perfectly of the era: panniers dilate the hips; a narrow waist is achieved by the corset, which further pushes up and supports the bust. A deep décolletage is rendered more or less modest with insertions of bits of cloth, and the sleeves are finished with layers of engageants that are generally just basted in for easy detachment and washing and are thereby useful in keeping the valued dress clean.
Related Objects


Date: first quarter 18th century Medium: linen, silk, whale bone Accession: 41.102 On view in:Not on view


Date: ca. 1710 Medium: linen Accession: C.I.56.38.2 On view in:Not on view


Date: 18th century Medium: [no medium available] Accession: C.I.68.85.3a, b On view in:Not on view


Date: 18th century Medium: [no medium available] Accession: 1972.139.3a, b On view in:Not on view

Robe à l'Anglaise

Date: ca. 1747; altered 1770s Medium: silk, metal Accession: 2014.138a, b On view in:Gallery 980