Not on view

The radically different silhouette of the last years of the eighteenth century was intended as an imitation of classical Greek and Roman dress. Basically, a soft, thin chemise of cotton or linen that almost fully revealed the breasts, the Empire gown was not universally embraced, if this uncharitable 1790s evaluation is to be believed: "The bosom, which Nature planted at the bottom of her chest, is pushed up by means of wadding and whalebone to a station so near her chin that in a very full nature that feature is sometimes lost between invading mounds. … were it not for the fine apparel of our ladies we should be at a loss … whether they were nurses or cooks."

Dress, linen, cotton, American

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