Girl's silk cloak, c.1790-1820
Hooded cloaks of the same style were worn by both women and children in the late 18th-early 19th centuries. By its style, this one could also be an adult woman's short cloak. I classify it as a girl's cloak based on size. The cloak came from a New England estate.
The hand sewn cloak is fashioned from brown silk and is lined with pink glazed cotton. It is padded for warmth and closes in front with two sets of ties.
In Western costume, the cloak has perhaps the most ancient lineage of any garment. The Classical ancestor of the modern cloak was the himation, a large straight cloak with some shaping. Especially noteworthy in the art of the late Middle Ages were the cloaks in which Giotto shrouds the allegorical figures in his paintings.
In modern art and drama, the cloak is associated with the romance and mystery of the night. Think of the final scene of Act I of Mozart's Don Giovanni, where the masked and cloaked avengers confront Don Giovanni and indict him for his crimes.
The condition is almost excellent and all original. One tie is missing; there are two tiny holes in the silk on the hood. These are very minor flaws.
It measures: 13 1/2" neckline circumference, 68" bottom circumference, and 29" from neckline to hem.