C1780's Dresden cut-down apron
This is one of two 18th Century pieces of Dresden work remaining from the Mary Ireland collection [See Blog].
I will try to add them both today but this one will be RESERVED for 24 hours.
An amazing price for Dresden work, this lovely apron has a problem - it was most likely damaged to the upper half and so Mrs Ireland probably cut it short, keeping the beautiful decorative hemline in place. It now has a simple, turn-over channel at the waist with a cord slotted through. See the condition report below for details.
18th Century aprons were indeed sometimes short, but these were always of the satin variety, with heavy embroidery, designed to be fully on show. Whitework aprons were always worn long.
As with the apron I sold recently, this Dresden work is of a lighter form, typical of the 1780's, and is very pretty. The whole of the hemline is decorated in Dresden style of scrolls and leaves with single flower heads and in the centre front, the design develops into a large, triangular shaped motif, which is quite fine.
My favourite aspect of this apron, not present on the other version, is the scattered and quite large single flower motifs, in a range of shapes and with different fillings, seen all over the muslin, above the main decoration. Very attractive indeed!
The muslin used is very fine and a lovely white colour.
As explained above, this apron has been cut down, to preserve the beauty of the Dresden border. We can see that the upper muslin has scattered, very small repairs, presumably where the damage was beginning to worsen. These small darns are of little consequence.
However, there is a larger darn, around 1" square, above the hem border and this, although well done, is more noticeable.
There are a few tiny spots of discolouration to one corner, and a pale stain in a more central position, but this is completely in line with age.
Suprisingly, the muslin has a centre seam joining two widths together. Excellent seam stitching and perfectly matched motifs mean that this is original to the piece. Please see the photographs.
The width is standard for these aporons at 38" and the length is short at 22". As explained.