Hand-sewn 18th century Quartered-back gown. It is made from brown worsted wool, lined with linen. The back shape attaches to two box pleats in the skirt to create a false English back. The front closes with pins.
I'm back, with a question about quartered-back gowns. I heard somewhere that it was a later style, coming into fashion after the en fourreau/English back. Is that true? Or what are the approximate dates for each style? I can't even remember where I read it, so I figured I should ask an authority on the matter!
Correct! The quarter-back comes in in the later 1770s. It seems to coincide with the larger bum shape so popular at that time. English backs don't seem to work with that shape as easily. Though, you do see them well into the 1780s, but they seem to try out new pleating styles (more or inverted) or a strange seamed style. Broad pleats until 1770: [link] Narrowing pleats of the 1770s: [link] Quarter-back 1785 (almost like the pleats narrowed to the point of disappearing): [link] The English back survives by extending the quarter-back into the skirt (seamed often): [link]
Thanks! You always give such detailed information! That explains the inverted pleats I've sometimes seen. Also I've seen some examples where thin panels of the back bodice extend into the skirt, but they're not pleated. It all makes sense now