Carlisle, Cumbria, England CALMG : 1961.4.2 dress

Court mantua dress about 1750.

This magnificent type of formal dress called a ‘mantua’ has the widest style of skirt ever worn. It is one of the most bizarre and extravagant forms of dress and was only worn by wealthy married women at Court for formal gatherings such as Royal birthdays and weddings.This example is made from very fine pale blue silk brocaded with silver threads and silver strip and it is trimmed with silver lace.

The dress originally belonged to Margery Jackson (1722-1812) who was born in Carlisle and lived in the Market Place. Margery’s father, Joseph Jackson (1695-1732), was a wealthy cloth merchant and Mayor of Carlisle. Her mother, Isabell (1683-1733), was a woman of fashion. Margery never married and it is unlikely that she had occasion to wear this dress. Her eccentric and miserly habits earned her a reputation, which were the subject of Francis Jollie’s Memoir of Margery Jackson, The Carlisle Miser and Misanthrope published in 1848.

Larger images of this object