I decided yesterday to make my Williamsburg jacket and petticoat in bright-ass yellow, a color that was extremely popular in the 18th century.
With the boom of all-things-Chinese and far-East in 18th century Europe, painted silks and Chinese textiles became incredibly popular for clothing. Yellow was a color associated with Imperial China, and represented royal palaces, temples, and emperors. (source)
There were all kinds of yellow, described in various terms such as “sulphur,” “canary,” chamois,” “citrine,” and “saffron.” The yellow that comes to my mind, when I think of 18th century yellow, is a deep, bold, strong yellow, so that is the goal while searching for fabrics.
Click “read more” for my favorite yellow gowns, jackets, and accessories:
The Met, 1780-85; a Chinese painted silk Robe a l’Anglaise that has been pulled up in the polonaise style
Kyoto Costume Institute, gown of silk; English, 1760
The Met, 1770s, an English jacket of silk
KCI, 1770, English gown of silk
KCI, 1780, French polonaise in striped silk. yummy!
The Met, 1760, robe a la Francaise in gorgeous silk
LACMA Robe a la Franciase 1760
LACMA, Italian petticoat, 1725-60.
So as you can see, yellow was quite a represented color in the 18th century. It was used on petticoats, gown, mittens, shoes, pockets, hats (I’m sure), you name it, and continued its popularity into the 19th century as well.
More yellow fever to come, as I source my materials and get to work on the jacket and flounced petticoat for this coming October.