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Silk Brocade Dress

Date made: mid 18th century

Description: Brocaded embroidered silk dress. The skirt front is lined with fine linen and the skirt back is lined with silk. The skirt is stiffened with an interlining of loosely woven coarse fabric, possibly jute hessian. The dress has been altered and repaired many times, the silk brocade has been patched under both arms and more evidence of alterations can be seen on the inside of the dress. There are pocket holes on each side of the outer silk fabric but no corresponding holes in the lining which suggests the lining is not original or the pocket holes are a later addition. The left pocket hole has been lined with cotton to form a modern pocket. Prior to donation to the Manx Museum the dress was used in the 20th century for dressing-up.

The donor believed it to have been worn by his ancestor Elinor Leece, who married James Drinkwater of Liverpool in 1776. Elinor’s father was William Leece, a Manx Liverpool merchant operating in the second half of the 18th century. Eleanor Leece (note spelling) is recorded as marrying James Drinkwater at St Nicholas church, Liverpool on 18 October 1777. She would appear to have been christened at the same church on 6 October 1757.

(Reference image taken in the 1990s.)

Materials: silk

Object name: dress

Collection: Costume & Textiles Collection

ID Number: 1954-5774


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