Not on view

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.

Mantua, wool, metal thread, British

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Full ensemble, 33.54a, b, C.I.62.19.1, C.I.62.19.3, C.I.66.15.6