Museum Kaap Skil on the island of Texel in the Netherlands is presenting to the public a new find from a shipwreck: a 17th-century silk dress with silver woven into it in the pattern of interlacing hearts (below). Now brown, having spent centuries on the seabed, the dress is thought to have been lighter in colour originally, and to have been worn for a special occasion such as a wedding.
Conservator Alec Ewing said, ‘Thanks to the silver, the dress would have had a formal, light, and sparkling appearance. It must have been one of the most extraordinary dresses that a lady from the highest social classes in western Europe would have worn in her life.’
The garment comes from the Palmwood Wreck, which was discovered in 2014 off the Texel coastline, and is on display at Museum Kaap Skil along with other artefacts from the 17th-century merchant ship on long-term loan from the North Holland Province, including another fine dress, a well-preserved red bodice, an ornate gilt silver cup, and leather book bindings.