|Metropolitan Museum of Art|
The mantua evolved into the English gown, and the word and the style became fossilized and was still used in elaborate court dress much later in the 18th century.
|Victoria and Albert Museum|
This mid century court mantua is to die for (and probably killed a few doors in its time). The burning question in my mind always is, "How the hell did they get where they were going to show off the damn dress". Sitting down in a carriage is not an option. Was there a carriage wide enough to take the whole thing? I know the hoops required for this gown are often steel, to support the weight and they must be hinged in some manner. But I digress.
The word "mantua" stuck to a dressmaker right thru most of the 19th century as well. And of course just to make ourselves crazy, "mantua" is also a descriptive term for a certain type of silk.
Update: This sign turns out to be the sign of the inn. So the quest continues for any sort of trade sign for a mantua maker or dressmaker.
John Collet, c 1770.