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Queen Victoria's Dress for the opening of the Great Exhibition 1851

Silk, lace, silk satin, silver thread, silk tulle. | RCIN 74851

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  • A dress consisting of a separate bodice and skirt of Spitalfields silk, the fabric woven with vertical bands of interlocking circles in silver thread.  The bodice with a scooped neckline trimmed with silk tulle and embellished with lace, partially re-embroidered in silver thread forming ruffled sleeves and echoing the pointed V-shape at the front.  The skirt pleated over the hips with tiers of lace at the front. 

    This dress was worn by Queen Victoria for the opening of the Great Exhibition on 1 May 1851.  The Queen described it in her Journal as 'a dress of pink and silver' and contemporary paintings of the occasion show the rich pink of the fabric, which has now faded to a pale pink-ivory colour.  There is evidence of the original colour in the folds of the skirt.  The plump silk satin bows on the bodice and the rosettes on the skirt appear to be later additions, indicating that Queen Victoria had the dress altered for subsequent wearing.
    Provenance

    Worn by Queen Victoria to the opening of the Great Exhibition, 1851.

  • Medium and techniques

    Silk, lace, silk satin, silver thread, silk tulle.