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Object Timeline

1940

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2014

2017

  • You found it!

Child's Dress (England), early 18th century

This is a Child's dress. It is dated early 18th century and we acquired it in 1940. Its medium is silk and its technique is damask. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Before the sixteenth century, European men and women, boys and girls, wore gowns, robes, or tunics. But around 1550, men began to wear bifurcated garments, while women and children remained in skirted styles. In the early eighteenth century, small children of both sexes wore dresses with tailored bodices and ankle-length skirts, like the dress seen here, once they started crawling and later walking. Under these dresses, young girls and also many young boys wore foundation garments known as stays, which were said to support the back and encourage good posture.
Girls would continue to wear dresses of this style until they were about thirteen or fourteen, when they assumed the clothing of adult women. Boys, on the other hand, would adopt men’s clothing after a rite of passage known as breeching sometime between the ages of four and eight.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Fit for a Girl – Or a Boy?.

This object was donated by DeWitt Clinton Cohen and Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen. It is credited Gift of Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen in memory of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 73 x 66 cm (28 3/4 x 26 in.)

Cite this object as

Child's Dress (England), early 18th century; silk; H x W: 73 x 66 cm (28 3/4 x 26 in.); Gift of Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Clinton Cohen in memory of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1940-93-68

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18562163/ |title=Child's Dress (England), early 18th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 October 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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