V147: Gowns a la Pompadour – 1740s – 1750s

Madame de Pompadour by Boucher, 1759

The 1740s and 1750s in France was the time of large, beautiful Robe a la Francaise gowns, made from stunning textiles, and decorated in all manner of beautiful laces, passementerie, and trimmeries.  Here’s what Madame de Pompadour would have sported in her time…

A Selection from The Met:


From the V&A:




Musee Galliera (via Fripperies and Fobs):


We don’t see so many 1740s and 50s gowns in the museums as we do the later 18th century.  Do you have a favorite? Have you made a gown of this period?


  • Becky

    May 26, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    The two blue francaises are definitely my favourites.
    I've already sewn a dress of this era: a white cotton satin (yeah, I know, but it was waaay cheaper) Robe à la Francaise with a false stomacher. It goes rather in the parure direction, but I'd LOVE to do a court dress/grand parure one day… 🙂

    • Lauren R

      May 28, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Yay for economic sewing! It's so easy to get caught up in the incredible silks of these gowns. I bet your cotton satin looks fantastic 🙂

  • Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne

    May 27, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    I've made two gowns in this style; one in ice blue satin and the other in a burgundy and lilac brocade with a matching lilac petticoat and the same fabric pinked and ruched to make passementerie. I loved them both and they were relatively easy to make. I also did a red and black fantasy version for a friend. Someday I'd like to re-create the peach gown in the Pompadour portrait.

  • Anna

    May 27, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    Drooooool. I love ALL of these. But I think my favorite a la Francaise is this one:


    And I know it's not all silk and fluff, it's just linen, but the pattern was so charming and bright the first time I saw it…and then I looked at the details and realized it's EMBROIDERY, not a print, and my tiny mind was blown away.

    Also, there's a trio of mannequin women in sacques in pastel colors in the KCI book that is probably one of my all-time favorite images. If I didn't think it would be breaking copyright, I'd scan it and put it up here.

    • Lauren R

      May 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      I agree, I love that dress too, and hey, who cares if it's linen?! It's so bright and cheery. I know the KCI photo you speak of – one of my favorites as well 🙂


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