Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Georgian Dresses in Bath Fashion Museum

The Fashion Museum, housed in the Assembly Rooms in Bath.  

This interesting museum houses a permanent exhibition of historical clothing, together with special visiting exhibitions.  The current exhibition shows Georgian ladies dresses, and exquisitely embroidered jackets for gentlemen.  The detail on this clothing, hand stitched birds , flowers and fruits is beautiful.  Each dress was made in a rich damask, with detailed embroidery stitched on top of the raised pattern, a process that must have taken many, many hours of concentrated work.  No wonder the embroiderers lost their eyesight.

Damask dresses, and centre, a gentleman's green jacket.

It was not possible to clean these dresses, so each dress was made in several pieces that could be worn over an easier to wash bodice and petticoat.  The two dress above show the under petticoats, and with a heavily embroidered,  detachable stomacher attached to the front of the dress.  I particularly liked the mustard coloured damask.

A mustard coloured damask, embroidered dress and a richly decorated gentleman's jacket.

Each dress must have cost a fortune and taken a long time to make.  Depending on ones wealth, each lady must have owned several dresses for special occasions, and easy to wear day dresses when at home.  With little else to do each day, changing clothes for lunch, dinner, theatre and dancing, and every other occasion must have been a popular activity.

Mantua, a court dress for palaces with very wide doors.

The mantua featured elbow length sleeves and an overskirt drawn back over the hips with a petticoat beneath.  By the mid 18th century, the mantua had evolved into a formal court dress.  They must have been very "swish" but somewhat uncomfortable to wear. 

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