Spitalfields Dress Brocade
Spitalfields Dress Brocade
Spitalfields Dress Brocade
Spitalfields Dress Brocade

Spitalfields Dress Brocade

Glorious brocade in lovely colours with fruit from the Plane tree, which is in many London parks. I have four skirt lengths from a dress.

The silk is woven with a points rentreés or shading technique. This was achieved by dovetailing different coloured silks together.  The silk would have been time consuming and to weave with eleven colours. Only a yard (36 inches) or 92 cm was woven a day, making brocades fabrics expensive to produce.The naturalistic silk brocade is vibrant, stunning and beautiful.  The points rentrés or shading technique helped to give a three dimensional effect  by dovetailing shades of brocading threads. Curiously in two of the lengths there is a weaving fault, where a small area is puckered. I'm suprised the weaver continued to weave the lengths.




Design repeat 11 1/2 in;30 cm

A - This length has an original vertical slit to middle top, from when the skirt attached to the bodice. Pink selvedges. £ 300.

C - the plain weave ivory ground woven with eleven colours of inky and pale blue, two shades of coral, brown and cream, magenta and pink, black, sea green and pale green, with horse chestnut conkers and three coloured flowers, the weave in a points rentreés or shading technique, pink selvedges. 34 1/2 x 20 in; 89 x 51 cm + horizontal panels top and bottom.  £ 300

D -  pink selvedges. 37 1/2 in; 95 cm. £ 175


All the lengths are very slightly grubby and have some issues, so please read on.  A & C are the best lengths.

A - A few age related imperfections buit quite minor. There is a small horizontal split 1 1/2 in; 4 cm. This is 7 in; 18 cm from the hem to the lower right. There is the slightest light brown water? mark to the centre. There is a vertical fault to the weave 3 in; 8cm and the weave is slightly puckered.  I have never seen this before.

B - I have not included the very top and bottom in my measurement. Both have some damage. The horizontal band right at the top which was gathered into the bodice 3in; 8cm drop I have not included in the measurements. Nor have I included the very bottom 7 in; 17 cm because again quite a few damage split.  Of course if you want the length for the design it is a bonus to have the extra top and bottom and you won't be worried about the damage. The main piece 30 in; 76 cm has two horizontal splits to the right hand side which have some crude stitches holding them together. These could easily be removed and the piece supported from the back. There is another split 1 1/2 in; 4 cm further down to centre area. There is a light brown water mark to the centre of the length approx 5 x 5.

C - Very good condition. This is the best length. This has clearly been used for the skirt of an 18th century dress and as such has some vertical markings, near the top of the length,  where the fabric was gathered. There is a small light brown mark to the left hand side1x 1 1/2 in; 3 x 3 cm dia. The measurement I have given does not include the extra piece  4 in; 10 cm sewn to the top of the length, which would be original, and the two pieces totalling 7 in; 17 cm added to the bottom. There is a 3 in; 8 cm vertical fault to the weave where the weave is slightly puckered. I have never seen this before.

D - The centre has a 5 in; 14 cm split which is bad. It could be supported from behind. There are two feint water marks at the bottom of the fabric.

Ask for photos of individual lengths and their damage.


Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century from the Victoria & Albert Museum, edited by Clare Browne p 39 for a design with conkers by Anna Maria Garthwaite.

Costume in Detail Nancy Bradfield p 5 and 9 - Gowns from the Snowshill Collection, now National Trust housed at Berrington Hall.

Fashion and Frugality. English Patterned Silks in Connecticut River Valley Women's Dress 1660-1800 by Davd E Lazaro (Dress. Journal of Costume Society of America. Vol 33, 2006)

Price: on request

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