Embroidered tulle/lace tea dress, c.1924
The aristocratic ladies of Downton Abbey could have worn this lovely dress to a summer garden party or to a cricket match. With its lavish hand embroidery and lace detail, the graceful dress would have been perfect for the Grantham ladies.
With their elaborate handwork, early 20th century tea dresses are treasured by today's collector. Nothing can compare with the textural quality of the high-relief hand embroidery and abundant lace. Today these dresses are eagerly sought by brides for informal weddings.
Our dress perfectly captures the mood of languid aristocratic privilege in the early 20th century. The ladylike style is accented with a hint of sensuality from the open sleeves, revealing a glimpse of bare shoulders.
Made from ivory cotton tulle, the pristine dress is sheer and will need a slip. A white one would emphasize the white-on-white textured design; a colored slip would showcase the embroidery and lace. The dress closes on one shoulder with small snaps.
The exacting perfection of the hand embroidery is beyond compare, while the gossamer delicacy of the floral motifs have a magical allure. Zoom in on the diaphanous design to appreciate the masterful achievement.
The society lady who wore this dress to an elaborate "at home reception" was not just making a fashion statement. She was also claiming her rightful place in her social circle. Her friends would have been duly impressed.
The condition is almost excellent. The dress, which has been gently worn, is clean and ready to wear.
It measures: 38" bust and drop waist, 48" hip, 22" from shoulder to drop waist, and 50" from shoulder to hem.