Two things make this mantua from the middle 1700s worth comment. The first is that we know the name of the textile designer, Anna Maria Garthwaite, who worked in the Spitalfields district of London, widely known for its superb silk textile production. She was acknowledged as one of the finest designers of her day and many of her watercolor designs have survived, enabling curators and historians to identify her textiles in paintings as well as in surviving garments like this mantua.

Her style of design most often included vivid colors and a predilection for floral motifs. The unexpected combination of yellow, green, blue, purple and brown on the light tan ground gives this material a great vivacity. The mantua survives to us in superb condition.

The other thing that makes this unique is the survival along with the dress of a pair of matching shoes, which are in a nearly pristine shape.

Mantua and shoes, 1750-1760, photos from Cora Ginsburg.

2 Responses to Embroidered 17th c. Dress and Shoes
  1. 18thc—and thanks for this glorious peek

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