Could this be Ottoman embroidery for the Western market or is it French? Charming dress imitating a woven silk design. A mother probably lovingly made this from her own discarded dress, which had gone out of fashion or was damaged, the hand embroidered fabric too good to throw away. The small button to the back of one sleeve would have been for securing an oversleeve, for the purposes of making the dress look different for evening wear. I think the girl may have been 7-9 years of age.
From the collection of the late Mrs June Jeffreys (1928 – 2016) who married George William Eyre Jeffreys (1931 - 2019) in 1960. The house Newhouse, Redlynch, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, has been in the family for 400 years and many of the dress collection was inherited through Mr Jeffrey’s family. Mrs Jeffreys also bought at auctions, and as no information was left with the collection it has been impossible, amongst the 19th century dresses, to attribute particular dresses to a wearer.
A shallow bodice with drawstring neck to front, short sleeve with double pintuck the back with a small button with embroidered flower to the back of one sleeve, the back bodice with additional linen drawstring, tightly gathered skirt, open at the back with pintucked hem. Only the sleeves are lined with fine cotton.
The linen with a hand embroidered green silk vertical meander supporting groups of four blue and ivory silk harebells, outlined in black silks with a narrow trail in yellow silk meandering round the green stem, small apricot silk and silver wrapped silk flowerheads, similar flowers in small groups flanking the meanders.
Shoulder to hem 45 in; 1.15 m
The black silk outlining the blue harebells has run in places causing a light brown mark round the flowers. There are other light marks in places which I think are damp. I can't imagine these can be removed.
The front high bodice has a inset panel, probably from when the dress was an adult's and the bodice perhaps made from elsewhere in the dress. There is another large inset panel below above .
There is an area of bad damage to the middle right skirt. It has been supported with cotton and darned. An area of 2 x 2 1/2 in; 5 x 7 cm. A smaller darned area below 1/2 x 1 in; 1 x 2 cm.
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