Thursday, September 16, 2010

Portobello Painted Gown

Our friend Leslie Roe of Rosebasket has offered to share the most beautiful painted antique gown with us. We hope you enjoy her story about this amazing piece of heirloom history!

"Portobello Market, the bustling antiques market on Portobello Road in London, is always a treasure trove for collectors of all kinds. The treasures I look for in the small crowded shops or from a vendor on the street are christening gowns, baby bonnets, and toddler dresses. I touch the materials of the vintage clothes—batiste, silk, and exquisite laces—and am amazed at the intricate work I see, whether of embroidery, or tucks, or lace, and inspired by creative elements in design. When I visited in early July, I had the privilege of seeing three gowns in Julia Craig’s personal collection, brought for me not to purchase but to view and enjoy. Julia purchased this one ten years ago, with no provenance, but she dates it around 1870, because of the style of the gown and the dating of the Maltese bobbin lace."

"I found it so interesting, because of the center panel of ecru silk on the bodice and skirt, on which were painted lovely roses, reminiscent of Redoute. The Maltese lace borders the center silk panel from the neckline to the hem as well as at the waist, forms the sleeves, and edges the neckline. Aside from the silk in the front panel, the gown is cotton."

"Nineteen tucks detail the hem of the front skirt, which is attached to the bodice with the tiniest gathers."

"With the gown were darling bootees, also with roses hand-painted on the silk. Julia has never seen another gown like it. It is a treasure that I take pleasure in sharing with you!"

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece with us, Leslie! -SB


  1. What an inspiring piece of history. I miss Portobello Road.

  2. Stunning, amazing, inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. What a delicate and intricate piece of work. Such a pleasure to share...thanks.

  5. you described everything so wonderfully. what a treat to see such elegance (the roses alone are just beautiful!) & hear of its background-- thank you.

  6. I have a friend who makes christening gowns out of wedding dresses. Painting in this style would be such a nice addition to her work. Thanks so much for the article!

  7. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    christening gowns