Nicole Kipar
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Surviving Female Clothing
17th Century
Museum Treasures

All photos taken by B. Levick or N. Kipar
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Early 18th Century, 1720

Mantua English mantua from the V&A museum, made from pale blue silk brocaded in silver. The design is floral and large scale, showing fantastic fruits and leaves on looped trails. Mantua The dress had been altered, showing stitch marks at the robe and petticoat, suggesting it was altered at the hip and waist, maybe around 1760, if it had been formal 1750s wear before.
Mantua The bodice is lined with linen, and the petticoat and robe were originally lined with silk. Mantua Detail of the draped back skirt. It is draped back in a basque with inner cords and silver buttons.
Mantua The folds of the wide sleeves are held in position by two lead weights, which are stitched inside the back of the deep, turned back cuff. Mantua The cap with the lappets is made from Brussels bobbin lace, 1700s. By this time the fontange head-dress had finally vanished and there are no more tall tiers to be balanced on top of the coiffure.
Mantua The pleats run over the shoulder to form double robings, to merge with the skirt. Mantua The back pleats are unstitched, only held in position with two bands of brocaded silk.
Mantua The pleats at the centre back are stitched. The bodice is lined with white, the facing is pink silk. Mantua Detail of the fastening of the draped skirt.

Museum Treasures
Female Period Clothing Early 1630s - 40s | Female Middle 1660s | Female Late 1720
Male Period Clothing Early 1630s | Male Middle 1660s - 70s | Male Late 1700
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