Martha Washington's dress

Martha Washington's dress

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Dress worn by Martha Washington. The gown's basic style is typical of the early 1780s. The painted pattern on the silk taffeta is a repeat of four floral bouquets and 58 creatures (butterflies, ants, beetles, snails, bees, grasshoppers, wasps, ladybugs, spiders, and grubs) places within the spaces between the ribbon-trellis pattern. Each crossover is accented with a painted green "jewel."
The fabric displays characteristics common to 18th- century hand-painted Chinese textiles: fluid brush strokes, white lead base coat of paint, green malachite pigment for the "jewels," and a 30-inch selvage-to-selvage width.
The collar and cuffs are reproductions
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Late 18th Century
Washington, Martha
Physical Description
silk (overall material)
salmon pink; green (overall color)
overall: 55 in x 33 in x 48 in; 139.7 cm x 83.82 cm x 121.92 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. John McFarland Bergland and Mrs. Asher Abbott White
First Ladies
First Ladies
See more items in
Political and Military History: Political History, First Ladies Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
Clothing & Accessories
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Is this dress the one Martha Washington wore after independence from England was gained? I understand silks were not to be worn by the colonists originally but after independence was gained, Martha wore a silk dress. Is this the dress?

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