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Hand-embroidered lace tea dress, c.1923

V&A; Flounce Place of origin: France (possibly, made) Brussels (city) (possibly, made) Date: about 1750 (made) Artist/Maker: Unknown (production) Materials and Techniques: Needle lace Credit Line: Given from the collection of Mary Viscountess Harcourt CBE Museum number: T.22-1965 This fine, deep lace flounce may have been intended for a dress, but was probably used to decorate a bed or dressing-table. Such extravagant use of lace could only be afforded by royalty or the very wealthy, who might expect to receive visitors in their bedrooms or dressing rooms. Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, paid more than 1000 English pounds for lace to cover her dressing table in 1764, an enormous sum of money at that time. Evidence from paintings and inventories suggests that such lace would be lined with silk of a rich contrasting colour, often pink or crimson, enhancing the effect of the pattern. The design here of meandering exotic flowers reflects closely the types of pattern seen in the silks and embroideries used for fashionable clothing in this period.