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Women's Wedding dress, satin and silk tulle, Victorian

  • Victorian Wedding Dress
  • Wedding dress of ivory satin and silk tulle, 1880

More Info

Women’s fashions were at their most complicated in the 1880s. The back of the skirt was the focus of attention accentuated by a bustle, made from steel and mounted in a petticoat. The fashionable silhouette was an s-shape from the side, as opposed to the bell- like shapes from the 1850s and 1860s.

Skirts were elaborately trimmed with drapes, swags and pleats which could be quickly run up on the sewing machine. Bodices were tight fitting with narrow sleeves and high necklines. By this time ordinary people could afford fashionable clothes for the first time.

This sumptuous wedding dress is made from ivory satin trimmed with pleated tulle made from fine silk bobbin net. The dress is cut in one piece at the back and flows into a long train to reveal the figure. This style was known as a Princess dress, named after the Princess of Wales. Mrs Gare, Court Dressmaker, Sloane Street, London made the dress. Mary Seton-Karr wore the dress for her marriage to Frederick William Chance on 14 January 1880.


Key facts: 
  • Women's fashion was highly elaborate in the 1880s, including bustles, large hats and complicated pleats and drapes to create an s-shaped silhouette with a long train
  • This type of dress was known as a Princess dress, and made for Mary Seton-Karr for her wedding with Frederick William Chance in 1880

Curator: Melanie

Fine and Decorative Art

I’m responsible for the art collections in the museum which cover fine art (paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints, sculpture) dating from 1650

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