Embroidered Stomacher, England, circa 1740

Embroidered Stomacher, England, circa 1740

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size of the stomacher: 13¾” x 13¼” • framed size: 21” x 19¾” • sold

In the mid-18th century, fashionable American and European ladies wore stomachers – decorative V-shaped fabric panels that formed the center portion of the bodice of a gown, emphasizing the cone shape desired in that period. They could be plain, printed or, occasionally, embroidered and these needleworked examples are quite rare. A fine book, What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America by Linda Baumgarten (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Yale University Press, 2002) discusses this form and illustrates several examples, some of printed fabric and some that are embroidered, within figures 19 and 162.

This outstanding stomacher features a two-handled basket of flowers, buds and berries embroidered in silk, with metallic threads forming the basket, details to the blossoms and the many graceful scrolls. It retains its original deep pink silk binding; the overall composition and color render this a visual delight.

Worked in silk and metallic thread on silk, it is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into a 19th century gold leaf frame.

Provenance: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Collection.

image of reverse of the stomacher

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