Collection Online
Doll's dress
silk, linen, paper, metal
53.0 cm (centre back) 15.7 cm (waist, flat)
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Lady Nicholson and her daughter, 1951
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Professor AGL Shaw AO Bequest
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
A short sleeve dress with bell shaped skirt, of black silk and multi-coloured patchwork diamonds with emdroidery, lace and piping. Finished with a stiff patchwork diamond sash. Highlight sections of patchwork have been embroidered with floral sprigs.

During the conservation assessment of this Victorian doll’s dress, it was noted that damage had revealed two small sections of paper containing text (one handwritten, one printed), indicating the existence of paper templates beneath the silk. Intrigued by this evidence, which suggested the use of a traditional quilting method called paper piecing, conservators investigated further to see if it was possible to ‘read’ these fragments. Using a combination of transmitted light and infra-red photographic processes, a number of eerie words and a date became visible.