Dress fabric - ROM2011_11769_32

ROM2011_11769_32

Dress fabric

Medium:Silk pékin brocaded in silk, gold and silver
Geography: France
Date: 1770-1780
Period: Louis XVI (r. 1774-1791)
Dimensions:
34 x 55 cm
Object number: 934.4.294.B
Credit Line: Harry Wearne Collection, Gift of Mrs. Harry Wearne
Not on view
Description

This dress fabric is a figured silk pékin brocaded in silk, gold and silver. It has a white corded silk ground with longitudinal stripes in gold, pink and green, overlaid with a delicate small-scale floral meander. A slender serpentine meander has bouquets of roses and feathers linked by lacy ribbon and smaller floral garlands.

Such silks are typical of the last years of the Ancien Régime, before taste radically changed to the plain white muslins more in keeping with strict Neoclassical taste. Flowers are once again more generic, the shading simplified, the taste for three dimensional pictorial effects in decline.

A pékin is a textile with longitudinal stripes employing different binding systems to create texture and interest: here much of the fancy striped ground is done in gold and silver thread, making this textile appropriate for formal court wear. The gold and silver threads used include lamella (a flat strip of metal), filé (a smooth thread composed of a lamella wound around a silk core), frisé (a crinkled thread composed of a lamella wound around a super-twisted silk core) and spangles (a metal sequin with a hole in the middle for fastening).

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