Charles Frederick Worth - Garment Fabric, about 1885-1891

Designed by Charles Frederick Worth (Bourne, Lincolnshire, 1825 - 1895, Paris)

Garment Fabric, about 1885-1891

Silk: compound satin with supplementary wefts of silver, 134.6 x 271.8 cm (53 x 107 in.)


Object details

Accession number





The gown with this fabric purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the French house of high fashion, House of Worth, Paris before 1891.
Worn by Isabella Stewart Gardner to the Myopia Hunt Club Ball in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, 1891.
Fragments from the gown's petticoat (?) were sewn together and installed in the east wall of the Titian Room at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston before 1903.


Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 220. (as French or Italian, 17th century)
Adolph S. Cavallo. "An Introduction to the Textile Collection at Fenway Court." Fenway Court (1981), pp. 6-7, fig. 1. (as Lyons, 1885-1895; as probably from an evening gown designed by Charles Frederick Worth)
Adolph S. Cavallo. Textiles: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1986), p. 187, no. 164. (as French, Lyons, 1885-1895; as probably the petticoat (skirt) from one of Isabella Stewart Gardner's evening gowns designed by Charles Frederick Worth)
Hilliard Goldfarb and Susan Sinclair. Isabella Stewart Gardner: Woman and the Myth. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1994), p. 38, ill. (no. 33, illustrated on the front cover is a painted photograph of Isabella Stewart Gardner wearing the dress from which this fragment comes)
Ada H. Logan. Introducing the World of Textiles. Exploring Treasures in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum II. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1992), ills. (detail reproduced on the inside covers)
Anne Higonnet. "Private Museums, Public Leadership: Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Art of Cultural Authority." Cultural Leadership in America, Art Matronage and Patronage. Fenway Court, vol. 27 (Boston, 1997), pp. 89-90, fig. 6.
Bonnie Halverson and Molly McNamara. "A Question of Color for a 19th Century Silk Fabric with Metal Threads." The Textile Speciality Group Postprints: Papers Delivered at the Textile Subgroup Session, American Institute for Conservation 13 (2003), pp. 27-34, figs. 1-6. (as designed by House of Worth)
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), p. 90.
Christine M. E. Guth. "Multisensorial Asia" in Alan Chong and Noriko Murai (eds.). Inventing Asia: American Perspectives Around 1900. Fenway Court, vol. 33 (Boston, 2014), pp. 94-95, fig. 11. (as designed by Charles Frederick Worth)
Catherine M.E. Guth. "Dress, Self-Fashioning and Display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum" in Dress History: New Directions in Theory and Practice (London, 2015), p. 119.

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Isabella reinforced and elaborated on the themes in Titian's painting The Rape of Europa with her installation. This fragment (now a reproduction) of a Charles Frederick Worth-designed gown—which Isabella wore to the 1891 Myopia Hunt Club Ball in South Hamilton, Massachusetts—extends the impression of a shimmering sea out of the painting and into the room. Each stylized tassel of its woven pattern resembles the bull's bushy tail, which playfully grazes a cupid's head.




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