The Dictionary of Fashion History Cover Image

The Dictionary of Fashion History

Valerie Cumming, C. W. Cunnington and P. E. Cunnington


Table of contents

  • Earthquake gown

Earthquake gown

Dictionary entry

Page: 73

(F)

Period: 1750.

Following two nocturnal earthquakes in London in March 1750 a third was foretold, causing many to flee to the countryside against the predicted night of disaster. “This frantic terror prevails so much that within these three days 730 coaches have been counted … with whole parties removing into the country. … Several women have made earthquake gowns; that is, warm gowns to sit out of doors all night…” (April 4, 1750, Horace Walpole). A precursor of the siren suit of two centuries later.