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Embroidered Dress

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This gown belonged to Sarah Pray (b.1805) of Newburyport, Massachusetts. The thin cotton fabric is quite a departure from the heavier fabrics that had been used throughout the 18th century. The high waist and unstructured style of this dress represent the Neo-Classical influence on design in the early 19th century. Designs on the skirt were made with a hook when the fabric was stretched tightly on a hoop called a Tambour. Tambour work developed in India and was brought to France about 1760. It then spread to other places in the West where it was added to the repertoire of genteel female accomplishments. The silk twill shawl (1975.05) is probably Scottish dating c.1815-1825. Shawls of this design originated in India and became very popular in the early 19th century. They are called "Paisley" after the Scottish town of Paisley, a prolific producer of them. This shawl belonged to Lucinda Montague (1787-1831) of Sunderland, Massachusetts, who married Colonel Samuel Seymour (1785-1854) of Hadley in 1825.


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