Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery

Needlecase and Scissors

Artist/Maker

Object Type
This needle case has been made by assembling fragments of rich dress fabrics which would have been kept for this purpose. Women of all classes of society would have made such needlecases; only the materials used would have varied. Both practical and decorative needlework played an important part in women's lives, in the management of households and in the making, mending and decoration of clothes. Steel needles were essential equipment, and were carefully stored in such decorated needle cases.

Materials & Making
The needle case has been constructed as a folder with leaves and pockets inside. The outside is covered in a silk and linen fabric closely striped with metal strip. One side has a pear shape in semi-relief, with green velvet appliqué leaves. The other side has a pocket containing scissors. On the inside is a mirror, bound with gilt braid; two leaves of red felted wool, scalloped and edged with twisted gilt thread, attached to the case by being sewn onto a piece of pink ribbon; and two pockets covered in a fragment of rich dress silk brocaded with strips of silver thread. Other fabrics which appear in the linings are plain-woven green and pink silks, and unpatterned silver tissue.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Needlecase
  • Scissors
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered silk, velvet and flannel, with glass mirror, silver-plated brass with steel blades
Brief Description
Needlecase of silk and metal thread, made in England, with silver-plated brass and steel scissors, probably made in the Netherlands, second half 17th century
Physical Description
Needlecase and scissors.
Dimensionsscissors 9.5 x 5cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: A skilled needlewoman might have made this little case for herself, or as a gift. She used scraps of silk dress fabrics and pieces of red wool. The case contains pockets for scissors, a small mirror, and other sewing tools. It also still contains two needles, pinned inside.(27/03/2003)
Summary
Object Type
This needle case has been made by assembling fragments of rich dress fabrics which would have been kept for this purpose. Women of all classes of society would have made such needlecases; only the materials used would have varied. Both practical and decorative needlework played an important part in women's lives, in the management of households and in the making, mending and decoration of clothes. Steel needles were essential equipment, and were carefully stored in such decorated needle cases.

Materials & Making
The needle case has been constructed as a folder with leaves and pockets inside. The outside is covered in a silk and linen fabric closely striped with metal strip. One side has a pear shape in semi-relief, with green velvet appliqué leaves. The other side has a pocket containing scissors. On the inside is a mirror, bound with gilt braid; two leaves of red felted wool, scalloped and edged with twisted gilt thread, attached to the case by being sewn onto a piece of pink ribbon; and two pockets covered in a fragment of rich dress silk brocaded with strips of silver thread. Other fabrics which appear in the linings are plain-woven green and pink silks, and unpatterned silver tissue.
Collection
Accession Number
T.424&A-1988

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record createdMarch 23, 1999
Record URL