Part of woman's sack gown (robe à la française) - ROM2008_9822_12


Part of woman's sack gown (robe à la française)

Medium:Painted silk tabby
Geography: Painted silk made in China for the European market; used in England
Date: 1760-1770
Period: Qianlong (r. 1735-1795), Qing Dynasty
165.5 x 74.5 cm
Object number: 980.205.M
Credit Line: Gift of the Fashion Group Inc. of Toronto
Not on view
DescriptionThis textile part of unstitched woman's sack gown (robe à la française) was woven and painted in China for the Western market. It was quite common practice to unstitch silk dresses in order to clean or store them. This rectangular piece would have formed the right back length of the gown. The bodice part is cut in at right angles to skirt, and it is 37.5 cm wide and 34 cm deep. The bight yellow ground is painted with sprays of three red roses, buds and star flowers in blue and white. There are also blue, green and pink apple blossoms. There are three reoeats of 55 cm. There is a narrow red selvage. The areas to be painted are first covered with a layer of white lead or white calcium (chalk or oyster shell. Under painting in white enhanced the effect of colors, which included mineral (azurite, copper, cinnabar, iron oxide) and vegetal (madder, indigo, lamp black, gamboges) pigments. Pigments were suspended as discrete particles in an animal or vegetal glue medium thinned to an appropriate consistency with water and applied to the surface of the motif, completely covering the under painting. The painted flowers were originally outlined with silver. The cloth was purchased in Europe and made into a woman’s formal dress that would have been one of the most costly and luxurious gowns in a lady's wardrobe.
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