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H5687 Dressing gown, mens, patchwork style, silk / velvet, multicoloured patchwork design, maker unknown, [England], c.1835. Click to enlarge.

Dressing gown

Made in England, c. 1835.
This patchwork dressing gown or smoking jacket is a well-preserved example of handmade personal attire worn by men in their homes during the 19th century. It is unique for its multi-coloured patchwork design which has all been individually hand sewn together, most probably by the owner's wife and daughters.

The 19th century marked a sober turning point in men's fashion as masculinity was redefined for the industrial age. Menswear moved away from the lace frills, floral embroideries and elaborate decorative styles of the 18th century suit to one of unadorned neutrality and restraint. At its best, its understated elegance relied on highly skilled tailoring, quality fabrics and painstaking care with laundering and personal grooming. The Victorian man carefully managed his appearance to reflect a dignified, businesslike demeanor. However, decorative waistcoats and gowns offered the chance for personal expression. At home he could adopt more comfortable dress, including garments and accessories.

This particular dressing gown complements a number of other objects in the Museum's collection which would have been worn by a 19th century man in his home including a smoking cap, about 1860 (A6895), woolwork slippers (A8915-1:2) and dressing case (H4960).

Glynis Jones and Melanie Pitkin
Curators, Design & Society
2009

Summary

Object No.

H5687

Object Statement

Dressing gown, mens, patchwork style, silk / velvet, multicoloured patchwork design, maker unknown, [England], c.1835

Physical Description

A knee length coat with flaring skirt and slit at back. Centre front opening, fastened with single button at the waist and decorative buttons at breast. Wide olive green turn back collar and lapels. Long straight sleeves with deep velvet turn back cuffs. The fabric is made from small handsewn patchwork blocks of multicoloured plain & brocaded silks and silk velvets. Each patchwork block is made from triangles joined into a larger square block forming repeating diamond shapes. Lined with green silk ining, interlined with padded wool felting.

Marks

No Marks

Dimensions

Height

1190 mm

Width

675 mm

Depth

1160 mm

Production

Made

England c. 1835

Notes

The dressing gown was probably made in England c. 1835

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs L W Marks, 1957

Acquisition Date

16 December 1957

Cite this Object

Harvard

Dressing gown 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 May 2020, <https://ma.as/243990>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/243990 |title=Dressing gown |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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