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Drawing, Design for a Jeweled Stomacher

This is a drawing. It is dated late 18th century and we acquired it in 1938. Its medium is pen and black ink, brush and gray wash on laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

The stomacher, an important part of a women's fashion in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was a triangular panel of fabric worn on the front of the body, attached to the bodice of a dress with ribbon tabs and pins. Gowns were constructed so that the ornamental stomacher panel could be changed for different occasions and styles. The overall effect was to emphasize a narrow feminine waist. Due to their prominent position, stomachers were often highly decorative and made of a material that contrasted with the dress’s main fabric. This extravagant design for a stomacher, with its rich visual pattern and profusion of jewels, could only have been actualized for the wealthiest of clients. Although many designs for stomachers are known, most are for embroidery. Embroiderers could use silk and metal threads to resemble jewels, however the exactitude of this carefully executed pen and ink drawing closely resembles Italian jewelry designs, particularly in the precise faceting of the densely arranged diamonds. The designer, while operating a distinctly separate trade from the embroiderer or jeweler, would require good knowledge of how the work would be executed. This accounts for the drawing’s extreme clarity and minute details.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled A Gem of a Drawing.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of various donors and from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund.

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Stomacher
  • silk, metallic, paperboard.
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma....
  • 1962-52-16
  • Stomacher (France)
  • silk and metallic (metal-wrapped silk core) embroidery on silk foundation,....
  • Bequest of Marian Hague.
  • 1971-50-125

Its dimensions are

34.3 x 21.1 cm (13 1/2 x 8 5/16 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamp, verso: Museum of the Arts of Decoration, Lugt suppl. 457d. Lowest part of watermark similar to the monogram that appears on 1938-88-866.

Cite this object as

Drawing, Design for a Jeweled Stomacher; Italy; pen and black ink, brush and gray wash on laid paper; 34.3 x 21.1 cm (13 1/2 x 8 5/16 in.); Museum purchase through gift of various donors and from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund; 1938-88-868

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Design for a Jeweled Stomacher |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>