Ball gown; 1890s; 1994/78/1


Ball gown

About this object

This ball gown was donated from a deceased estate and unfortunately no details of its original owner were recorded. The style of the sleeves and the neckline of the bodice suggest a date in the 1890s, when the puff sleeves of the 1830s were revived. Another indication is the skirt, which is straight at the front and full at the back but without any form of bustle. The dress is a two-piece, fully lined costume made from a most unusual silk satin. The fabric is a heavy butter colour with an interesting textured weave. The bodice is gathered into a waistband and has a square neckline decorated with a double row of silver and glass beads as a braid. The silver beads have now tarnished to black while an original fine chiffon frill at the neckline has all but gone. The bodice has pleats in the centre back and is gathered at centre front. It fastens under the left arm but all of the original buttons had gone. The ones used here are replacements for display purposes. The small puffed sleeves have a lining that fits straight to the arm. The skirt is relatively simple with just a frill above the hemline as decoration. There is a hidden pocket tucked away beside the right back seam.

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