National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Dress Dress
Rendered by Julie C. Brush (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paperboard
overall: 53 x 36.9 cm (20 7/8 x 14 1/2 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Costumes from the Index of American Design
Object 1 of 26

In the eighteenth century, elegant dresses were created with elaborately patterned fabrics, lace trim, and ruffles. Costume accessories and hair styles were equally elaborate, modeled on the fashions of women in the French court. French fashion exerted strong influence on English fashions, which were enthusiastically adopted by colonial gentlewomen.

This dress is made from a silk fabric known as "spitalfields," from an area in London where designers and weavers produced silks in a great variety of handsome patterns. Spitalfields fabrics can be dated quite precisely because of surviving records of the weaving designs. This dress can be dated around 1740, since the fabric was most likely woven in that year.

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