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A8072 Evening dress, silk, maker unknown, probably Australian, c 1845. Click to enlarge.

Evening dress, silk, Australia, c.1845

Made in Australia, Oceania, c.1845.

Although little provenance exists for this silk evening dress, it remains an excellent example of the changing roles of men and women in Australia during the 1840s. The women during this decade presented an air of fragility, an air of submission and dependence, and her clothes, with tight corsetry and the weight of numerous petticoats, certainly restricted her day-to-day activities. This restrained line of the dress is characteristic of Victorian fashion and indicates the passive roles women pla...


Object No.


Object Statement

Evening dress, silk, maker unknown, probably Australian, c 1845

Physical Description

Evening dress of blue, cream, brown and mauve plaid silk. The corsage features a wide round neck, short sleeves and pointed waistline. Flat, V-shaped pleats taper down from the shoulder to the waistline of the front bodice. The fitted sleeves are cut on the bias, and decorated with serpentine trim. The full skirt is gathered at the waist by cartridge pleats and attached to the bodice via thin piping. The central panel of the skirt is trimmed lengthways by floating pleats and braiding. Twelve matching blue buttons, covered in the same tartan fabric are dispersed down the centre front of the skirt. Further piping trims the neckline and shoulder sleeve edge. A pocket has been let into seam on right hand front skirt. Protective braid in matching blue fabric just below hemline. Back fastening down the back of bodice with 11 brass hooks and eyes (2 hooks and 1 eyelet missing). The upper hooks have been moved, and the brass hook and top eyelet resewn. The central bodice bone is missing. Fully lined with silesia, braid reinforcing inside waist. Handsewn.



This day dress has been professionally made, featuring high quality finish and detail. The inside is skilfully sewn, with overstitched seams, gauging and lining beautifully fitted. In addition the costume displays the attention to detail and consistency of decorative device which indicates the work of a professional.

This bodice is unusual in having only one centre front bone. The lines of the bodice emphasise the low pointed waistline. Boning was usually placed on the bodice seams to make them less visible.


Australia, Oceania c.1845



This evening dress was donated to the museum in 1981 and is part of the Anne Schofield collection, which includes a number of colonial costumes.


Credit Line

Gift of Anne Schofield, 1983

Acquisition Date

12 November 1981

Cite this Object


Evening dress, silk, Australia, c.1845 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 May 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Evening dress, silk, Australia, c.1845 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 May 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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