#2019 $3,650 Sold
Satin brocade robe à la française, 1770s
This superb robe à la française is a real find for the collector. You will not have to pay $5700 to $5900 for a museum quality piece with original petticoat, fichu, and engageantes. Indeed, some collectors seek only the robe because they own antique lace accessories to use for display with the robe.
The magnificent brocaded satin damask might well date from the 1760s. Collectors are used to the problems with Victorian silk caused by the weighting of the fabric. In contrast, they will be pleased to find that many 18th century silks, like this one, are sturdy and durable. The fabric in the robe is as gorgeous today as when new.
It features compère bodice fronts, common in the late 18th century. Compères were more practical than a separate stomacher that had to be pinned into the robe when worn.
The linen backing of the compères has a lighter hue than that of the robe. This may have been in the original construction; or the robe may have been remodeled in the 1770s from an earlier garment with fabric from the 1760s.
Everything is hand stitched. The ruched trim on the skirt fronts was reattached at a later date. Note that the skirt is longer on the sides. When displayed properly—over side panniers—the skirt sides would be raised up.
The skirt also has a side pocket opening. In the 1770s, the robe à la française would have had a matching petticoat. The one I used as a display prop is not included with the robe.
The flowing back pleat took its name from the paintings of Watteau, c.1745, depicting aristocratic French ladies in robes à la francaise. Our regal robe is an important collectible that embodies high style fashion in the 1770s and 1780s.
The condition is almost excellent. The missing petticoat can be replaced with a quilted satin petticoat, preferably 18th century.
It measures: 34" bust and 51" from shoulder to front hem.