The silk used to make this formal gown was produced in China for the European market. The floral pattern was chosen to reflect Western tastes and hand-painted onto the silk. Similar examples survive in museum collections elsewhere, and mostly seem to date from the 1760s and 1770s when these designs were popular.
Hand-painted Chinese silks seem to have been a fashionable alternative to woven silk brocades and embroidered materials, suitable for a formal gown such as this one with its loose sack back and wide skirt intended to be worn over a hoop. Donated to the museum by Mrs Royd of Sidmouth in 1968, the gown had been altered for a child’s fancy dress costume.
This object is not on display.