Galerie des Modes, 7e Cahier, 3e Figure

 Little Mistress in a Polonaise Gown of painted linen trimmed with muslin, reading a letter. (1778)

Polonaise, open over the chest and closed in the middle of the waist, with wings that are developed in the front and a tail that blooms in the back.*

As the polonaise allows the sight of the chest in its brilliance, if you desire to excite curiosity you will require a fichu or a gauze handkerchief, folded back on itself and trimmed all around the edges: this gives a negligée appearance an air of decency which seems to add to its beauty.

The Print represents a young lady reading a letter.  Her gown is of linen painted with floral sprigs and narrow stripes; linen trimming in box pleats, sabot cuffs of the same and a little flared; very high volant, plain at the top* with box pleats.

Coiffure in racine droite, topped with a gauze pouf with a curved heron aigrette fitted to her head; four curls on each side, one of which is stylishly falling.

Watch cord of hair, equipped with sequins, key, seal, and a perfume bottle made of ostrich egg.

Shoes with high heels: buckles à la d'Artois, with the latchet of a different color than the rest of the shoe.

*  I.e., rather than the wings being in the back with the tail, they're mostly in the front and the tail is rather full.
** Compare to previous plates, which had colored fabric over the top of the flounce.


  1. Dear Cassidy,

    Does "painted linen" here (toile peinte), really mean painted? Or printed?

    If the former, veryyyyyy interesting.

    Very best,


    1. I'm not 100% sure. When I look at the period dictionaries, peinte is given as "painted" - in the 1801 Dictionary of the Academie Française, it says "One calls toile peinte a toile of cotton which is painted with different colors. Usually, by toile peinte, one means a toile painted in the Indies, or in the Indian manner, with solid and lasting colors. ... One also calls toile imprimé toile painted by printing." But it seems possible that the GdM writers used peinte for both, as this plate does look more like a printed fabric. So thank you for bringing up the point!


Post a Comment