#1 ‘FOLK’ FASHION AND RURAL LIFE: SMOCKS
The smock frock began as rural workwear for men, but evolved into a fashionable garment for women. The transition from function to fashion is played out in two thick linen smocks in the Gawthorpe collection. One, made for a farmer and hop planter in the early 19th century has smocking at the sleeves and neckline, to draw the fabric in to help it fit. Marks and signs of wear show that it was clearly used a lot.
A later smock, dating to the turn of the 20th century, shows fewer signs of use, and has beautifully elaborate smocking all down the front and across the exaggerated collar and pocket tops. Listed as a forester’s smock, it’s a lot more decorative than its hop-planting antecedent, so could be an example of Sunday Best or worn as a fashionably bohemian garment, encapsulating a romantic pastoral ideal.