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Registration Number: H42023

Name or Title: Ball Gown

Classification: CH classification COSTUME Eveningwear woman

Brief Description: Ball gown, consisting of two pieces: a short sleeved, close fitting bodice, and a six gored skirt. Ten of the twelve bodice panels are made of a pink and ivory silk brocade. The centre front plastron and short puffed sleeves are made of a garnet coloured silk velvet. The front opening is hidden by a narrow velvet ruffle. The low cut neckline is trimmed with a flat pleated collar edged with frayed silk ribbon, and a double layer of gathered silk chiffon. (Note: The fragments of the original silk chiffon trim have been replaced with new chiffon). The entire bodice extends below the natural waistline. The front section is pointed, the back is curved. The corset in vogue at the time gave the bust a rounded appearance and the illusion of a tiny waist.

The skirt consists of two parts, a foundation skirt made of shot silk taffeta, and an overskirt made of alternating panels of silk brocade and silk velvet. The side front velvet panels are also trimmed with frayed silk ribbon. The trim emphasises the lower triangular shape of each panel. The spaces left by the panel points have been filled with a dark copper silk surah which has been knife pleated. Three full widths of velvet have used to form the centre back panel which also forms a slight train. The upper width of the velvet has been pleated to fit the waist.

Collection: Clothing and Textiles

Production Place: Queensland/Australia

Production Date: 1890-1894

Materials: Silk, Brocade, Chiffon, Surah, Taffeta, Velvet

Measurement : 1. Bodice: centre front 350 mm, centre back 300 mm.
2. Skirt: centre front 1155mm, centre back 1375mm.


History and Use: This dress was designed and made by Mrs. Janet Walker, (1850 - 1940), Brisbane's leading 19th-century costumier, for Mrs Barbara Jane Drury, nee Grahame (1846 - 1907), grandmother of the donor and wife of Edward Robert Drury, Manager of the Queensland National Bank. It may have been worn to the Vice Regal Ball held at Government House in July 1892.

More information regarding Janet Walker can be found in the “Find out about” section on Histories of Queensland.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.

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