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Dress - Day dress

From the Collection of Brighton Historical Society First Floor Brighton Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

A white, mauve, purple, red, and green paisley / floral printed cotton day dress from circa 1820.

The day dress features a wide scooped neckline, with a dropped shoulder line. At the head of the sleeve is has three lines of gathering creating a narrow arm hole around the shoulder, flaring out into a leg of mutton sleeve. The sleeve finishes neatly at the wrist with a cuff that secures with two brass hook and eye closures. The dress bodice is open at the centre front and secures with six hook and eye closures to the empire line waist. Over the breast on either side of the opening are six diagonal pleats, pressed and secured facing towards the neck. This pleated detail is on a facing that extends from shoulder to shoulder and finishes with a bound edge. The remainder of the front bodice is plain and secures to the skirt at the empire waistline. The skirt pleats onto a binding, wrapping around the torso and securing to the bodice with eight hook closures. At approximately knee, height the skirt has an additional gathered flounce with the dress finishing at approximately ankle length. From the back, the bodice is plain and the skirt is gathered and sewn to the bodice at Empire line.

Alterations to the garment have been made with the addition of hooks and eyes. The garment is generally in good condition although the skirt at the front shows evidence of damage and subsequent repair.

Object Registration
circa 1820's day dress, reynolds
Historical information
This dress has had three owners documented by letters as it was passed between Reynolds family members as a family heirloom before being donated to the Brighton Historical Society. It was made in England circa 1820 according to one of these letters received with the dress from the donor. However, the dress style appears more indicative of the late 1820’s.

When Made
circa 1820
Made By
unknown (Maker)
The donor of this dress donated this dress accompanied by three letters between family members as the dress was passed from generation to generation. These letters paint a picture of the significance of this dress within this family and its journey from England to Australia. In these letters there are also comments of gentle guidance as to how to dress your hair and accessorize appropriately with this dress. The letters are also held at Brighton Historical Society.
Last updated
8 Oct 2018 at 5:08PM