Images from the 1720's:
Hogarth's 'The Wedding of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox' detail. 1729.
- I think both ladies are wearing closed gowns, but I say 'I think' as it's very hard to see. It is possible the front girl has a top skirt the same fabric as the petticoat, as there is a shadow in the fabric that might hint to being an egde of an opening but it is hard to tell. I'm not sure if stomacher's were ever worn with closed gowns - I shall have to research this. =O.k, new info = Cunnington and Cunnington '64 state that "an alternative bodice to this style of 'fall closure' was one with short robings and stomacher front as worn with open robe" This is under the section 'Closed Robes' on page 124 and in the above quote when they say 'as worn with...' they mean worn in the same style as the ones worn with the open robe. They also supply an image which I shall try and get uploaded once I've scanned it in.
- The front lady is almost for sure wearing a 'Robe a la Anglais'. Her back silhouette is definitely in keeping with that style of dress but it's hard to be certain. Her friend could be either. In the main her sleeve is in the way but there could be the slightest hint of a sack between her elbow and the other girls fan but it's not clear; it could also be a slight fold from her cuff for example. The fronts of their dress match each other so I'd say it's more likely that they are both wearing 'Robe a la Anglais' gowns.
- Both ladies had stomachers with the pleated detail at the side of this stomacher going up into the shoulder. Cunnington states that the contemporary term for this arrangement was 'Robings'. (see his book: Handbook of English Costume in the Eighteenth Century). From now on I shall refer to them as robings also.
- Both have baggy sleeves vaguely pinched into a cuff detail (see the post covering the different types of sleeves) and both have shift ruffles coming from underneath. (By 'shift ruffles' I mean ruffles that come directly from their chemises/shifts/smocks - whatever you like to call them) The lady in the front has a blue ribbon tying hers and she seems to also have a blue ribbon or trim of some kind at the bottom of her bodice. She also has a bow mid front on her stomacher.
- On both ladies you can see their shift frills at the neckline and the lady in pink seems to have a very faint hint of a fichu or neck cloth tucked in.
- The first lady has a cap on with lappets and a blue flower and ribbon detail. Her friend, or possibly Mother, just has a cap on with what look like frills at the front.
- The first lady, also has a ribbon or some sort of fine neck jewellery tied round her neck - possibly a black ribbon due to the bow visible at the back.
- Both are holding fans and the pink lady a pair of white gloves.
- I am not sure what holds these dresses out. They don't look full enough for a hooped petticoat but they could be wearing quilted petticoats as these were worn around this time - see Iris Brooke's book 'Dress and Undress' page 70 to 71 with a drawing to match numbered Fig.32. Also one of my images further down is of a similar dress being held out by a quilted petticoat. The downfall to this argument however, is that the only time one is aware a quilted petticoat is in use is if it's visible, so all of my images are only ever with the quilted petticoat being seen. I have no visible evidence to suggest they were ever worn underneath. There is a quote, though, from one of the letter's in Iris Brookes' Book: Dress and Undress which clearly states they were worn underneath everything else and allowed to not be seen. Brooke does not give her writer's name but quotes from her letter written in 1741: 'Their sacs are made proportionally narrow and short, opened before with a petticoat and trimmed, and with a stiff quilted petticoat underneath' (italics mine). Please see page 83 of her book if you'd like to read it for yourself. She also mentions earlier on in the same book, on page 63: "...the pads worn at the sides that help increase the size of a quilted petticoat, often called cushions."
So the two ladies above could also be wearing one of these 'cushions'.
A pair of Stays from the Museum of Philadelphia. C.1725-50
- According to the webpage, this pair of stays is lined with two types of checked linen.
- Silk trim detail on front.
- Scallop-like tabs.
- Fairly chunky looking boning - in comparison to some, I mean.
- Robe a la Francais with self-fabric trim detail along skirt edges and into the bodice's robings.
- Stomacher detail and it's either sewn on or held down by hook and eyes as I can see no lacing that is obvious.
- Neck frill seen from shift - although obviously this would have been arranged by the museum.
- Ruffled or Padoga Cuff with loose-ish sleeve.
- Beautifully quilted petticoat.
Duchess of Queensbury - attributed to Charles Jervas c.1725-30
- Pastoral themed painting - The Duchess, here, is dressed as a milk maid.
- Neck frill and cuffs from the shift are visible and used as detail.
- Possibly a Seperate Cuff, although it could also be grown-on as, though they are deep, they are not that large.
-I'[d suggest that it is a round gown.
- Intriguing bodice detail. I'm not sure if it's military inspired with a vague nod towards frogging and the double breasted element or if it was an actual functional way of doing a dress up. Cunnington describes a closed gown called a 'wrapping gown' which could possibly be this type of gown but it's simply more research that's needed.
- Cap with long sides - I seriously need to start logging all the names of these types of caps as I have no idea what type this is called.
Watteau - L'enseigne de Garsaint - detail. 1720.
- Laver mentions in the book 'Dress in the Eighteenth Century' that he worked on along with Iris Brooke, that Sack back dresses or 'Robe a la Francais' were introduced in the 1740's.
Which has always confused me a little as I would certainly use the term 'sack back' to describe the above garment. However looking more closely at this garment - it doesn't actually appear to be a dress but an over dress! If you have a look at the sleeve section it's actually loose and you can see a lowered arm hole and the sleeve apparently coming from another garment underneath. She is also holding up a part of her skirt as she walks and you can see the matching under skirt which must be from the garment underneath. I'm going to look into this more as I want to get it clear in my mind.
- I think it's her shift you can see sticking up on the back of her neck.
- I think her head dress is what Iris Brooke describes as lappets folded up into little piles at the top of the head. She also mentions that Wattuea likes to paint this particular head arrangement.
- She is wearing her hair up but natural.
Cardinal Plettenburg and Family - 1727 - Robert Tournieres:
- Satin silk Robe with large voluminous sleeves that seem to be just that slightly bit longer than usual. Also what's interesting about these sleeves is that they are not pinched into a cuff detail at all but just remain shapeless and baggy. They are also very full at the scye (armhole). For a more concise version you just need to peer at her daughter's sleeve at her side which seems to be very similar and comes down to, what looks like a point' at the back elbow.
Stomacher - c.1720 British.