Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1750-1770


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses; Gowns; Robes à l’anglaise


Silk damask, linen


c. 1750- 1770. Robe à l’anglaise in two pieces, made of imported ivory silk damask with a fitted bodice open in front for a stomacher, pleated bodice robing, elbow-length sleeves with cuffs, and open-fronted skirt cut to fit over small panniers, and with a separate matching underskirt panel.

The bodice is tailored to closely fit the conical silhouette of a torso shaped by a foundation garment. The bodice has three main pieces, two panels in front and one in back, and added-on back neck piece and sleeves. The front has one panel per side, cut straight with no bust shaping, left open at center to display a stomacher. Extra width at center front is folded back into two vertical pleats from shoulder to bodice hem to form robing flanking the opening. The robings reach from the top of the shoulder in back to below the waist in front. The front panels are sewn to the back panel under the arms at the sides with a straight seam. The back panel is cut in a T shape, with its middle running the full length of the dress from neckline to skirt hem while the sides are cut to fit the waistline, dipping toward the center back. The back of the bodice has a sewn vertical tuck at center from neck to waist, flanked on either side by two pleats which are stitched down, all of which creates a snug fit in the torso. The pleats are widest at the top, where they are sewn to the robing as it comes over the shoulders and match the line of their pleats. They narrow toward the waist where they release their excess fabric into the skirt. A pieced rectangle of fabric is added to the top of the back panel to enclose the pleating and create a finished neckline. The sleeves have a single seam and are gathered to the top of the shoulder. They come to the elbow, where they are finished with a broad turned back cuff.

The floor-length skirt is knife-pleated to the bodice with pleats pointing toward the back on each side. The skirt is made of three panels using the full width of the fabric (72.4 cm / 28.5 in.) The separate underskirt panel is made of two partial widths of the fabric sewn together at center front. It is knife pleated into a small bound waistband.

The linen bodice lining is simplified, ending shy of the folded robing edge in front and with a center-back seam. The sleeves are fully lined with linen, their cuffs are self-lined, and the skirt is not lined. Hand-sewn.


Overdress waist from robing edge to edge: 55.9 cm / 22 in.
Sleeve length: 40.6 cm / 16 in.
Hem (dress): 215.3 cm / 84.75 in.
Hem (separate panel): 143.5 cm / 56.5 in.
Length (skirt front): 99.1 cm / 39 in.
Length (neck to hem back): 124.5 cm / 49 in.
Length (separate panel): 99.1 cm / 39 in.


Gift of the Coe family. Descended through the family, owned and worn by Temperance Pickering Knight (1732-1821) of Dover Point, New Hampshire.

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.

Pickering_and_Coe_History.pdf (60 kB)
Pickering and Coe history


Dresses, Gowns, Robes à l’anglaise, c. 1750-1770, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Two-piece dresses, Silk damask, Ivory (color), Fitted bodice, Stomacher, Pleated bodice robing, Elbow-length sleeves, Sleeve cuffs, Linen lining, Open-fronted skirt, Panniers, Underskirt panel, Knife pleats, Hand-sewn, Temperance Pickering Knight, Janet Coe Stearns, Margaret Coe Ninde, Sarah T. Coe, Anne Coe Curry, Coe family, Coe (donor)


item origin