This wedding gown in grosgrain silk and lace is an intriguing example of the transition from the tightly corseted construction of the Edwardian era to a softer, more free-flowing style of dress. It is sewn with all of the internal detail for extensive boning but without the actual stiffening itself. It is a full-length one-piece costume, lined with cotton and heavily embellished with lace and rows of tiny pearls. The elaborate sleeves are in three tiers, with a short silk section at top, a continuation of the bodice lace in the middle and an engageante of a different lace from the elbow to the wrist. The décolletage is similarly tiered with decorative elements even on the layers that cannot be seen. The skirt is made from four panels joined together in folds over a lighter silk, each join highlighted by twin vertical rows of pearls. More pearls define the high waistline and the hem. There are signs of alteration at the back and it is no longer clear how a long train in the same grosgrain silk (or perhaps a veil) that came with the dress would have attached to it. We have not included this train in the display for that reason.

Conflicting references in the Museum’s records suggest that this dress was worn in 1914 by either a Miss M Arthur or by Mrs M Arthur and possibly donated to the Museum by a Mr F Malcolm. It has not been possible to identify these people with any confidence. The dress’s construction details are consistent with the date: it has the pigeon-breasted profile and the hobbled skirt that were fashionable just before the First World War. The Museum staff would be very pleased to hear from any visitors who can offer additional information about it."
1380x510x260mm (on mannequin)