Collection Online

Wedding dress and underbodice

silk, cotton lace, cotton, metal
(a) 158.0 cm (centre back) 30.0 cm (waist, flat) (wedding dress)
(b) 32.7 cm (centre back) 18.0 cm (sleeve length) (underbodice)
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of the family in memory of Alma Elsie Ann Jean Sandford (née Gannell) (1907-2005), 2009
Gallery location
18th & 19th Century Decorative Arts & Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Physical description
The Wedding dress is pale brown woven silk taffeta with an expansive skirt in three flounces. The bodice features a high neckline, pleats over the shoulders and bodice narrowing at a cinched waist and open-mouthed sleeves flared towards the wrist in a pagoda shape. The complimentary Underbodice also traces the lines of Wedding dress bodice, with a round neck, pleats through the front and concentrated into a point at extending below the waistline. The short sleeves are cut on the bias. Piping finishes the neckline and the hemline.

This Wedding dress was worn by Charlotte Toby when she married Edward Gannell on 9 August 1856 at St Luke’s Parish Church, on Sydney Street in Chelsea, Middlesex. Eight weeks later the married couple sailed to Melbourne on the ship Sussex. At this time, wedding dresses were not always white. A woman might simply have worn her best dress when getting married.