This dress is a very rare find, a 1890s to 1900s silk evening gown in great condition. To add to this it carries the label 'To the Princesses of the Orleans Family' C.W King, Richmond. I can't find anything about C.W King who must have been dressmakers or couturiers in Richmond at this time.
Princess Amelie d'Orleans
Princess Helene d'Orleans
Princess Isabelle d'Orleans and her cousin Princess Marie d'Orleans. Could Isabelle have worn this dress?
Princess Louise D'Orleans - this is most likely the wearer of the dress and would match the style of her era.
The dress was found in a shop in Clifton, Bristol recently. The collector I purchased this dress from found it in a shop in Clifton, Bristol. The sellers thought it was a costume. Where it came from before this, we don't know. What we do know is that the last French Royal family were exiled in the UK in 1948. They lived at Orleans House in Twickenham in the borough of Richmond.
You can read more about the Orleans family here.
Painting of Orleans House, Richmond painted by Joseph Nicholls.
If the dress was worn by one of the princesses it was most likely Princess Helene d'Orleans married 1885 at Kingston upon Thames, Princess Isabelle d'Orleans married 1899 at Twickenham or Princess Louise d'Orleans married in 1907 at Evesham. Their father was Prince Philippe, Count of Paris and claimant to the French throne.
The dress is made from a soft gold silk jacquard with a boned bodice and separate full length skirt. There are bows decorating the neckline and the waist and look as if more lace an embellishment had been added at some point as there are still some threads over the neckline and sleeves.
Inside the stays are covered with a fine cotton voile and a silk brocade ribbon woven with the crest of the Orleans family makes the waist stay.
The skirt is full length with a small train and more volume at the back. Fully lined in cotton with a ruffled ribbon hem. Both the skirt and the bodice fasten with the original hooks and eyes laid out alternately to ensure a strong fastening.
The dress is in very good condition considering it is silk and the age. There are storage and wear marks on the inside of the dress and a couple marks on the outside of the skirt. The colours have faded a little on the back of the skirt but overall it is lovely.
The dress hasn't been cleans and will need dry cleaning by a specialist if intended for wear.
The dress is available to purchase in the vintage section of our shop and would be wonderful in a French Royal Family collection, House of Orleans collection or a costume collection covering this era.
More details of the dress.