Mantua

Date: late 17th century

Culture: British

Medium: wool, metal thread

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1933

Accession Number: 33.54a, b

Description

A late seventeenth-century version of the open robe and one of the earliest costumes in the Museum's collection, this two-piece dress is richly decorated with embroidery in silver-gilt thread. If it looks little like our preconception of eighteenth-century court dress, the anomaly is in part due to a certain sedateness, perhaps more grave than many of the wearer's later Rococo sisters. Moreover, this sensible wool costume is for winter and lacks the deep décolletage and bright silks of spring and summer attire. In 1695, a lady of the French court complained that women were turning blue from the cold when required to wear silk dresses in winter.

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