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Pair of boot hose

Pair of boot hose

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1640-1660 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wool, hand-knit, hand-embroidered

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Boot hose were worn over silk hose to protect them from the rough interior of leather boots, during the seventeenth century. The large tops of this pair extended over the full breeches.

The shape and decoration of these knitted hose imitates that of the cut cloth hose which gentlemen wore at this time. For example, the back of the leg and the clock decorating the ankle are embroidered in blue wool. Once introduced, people preferred woollen hose, which were better fitting and more comfortable.

These hose were knitted in stocking stitch in the round with fine two-ply wool. To make each one, the knitter cast on approximately 375 stitches. These were only slightly reduced, by decreasing down the imitation back seam, before they were gathered by knitting two together into the last blue stripe.

The knitter controlled the remaining 140 stitches by a band of ribbing before continuing the legs in stocking stitch. The legs were shaped by two lines of decreasing, eight stitches in, on either side of the imitation seam. The heels were turned by a variation of the 'Dutch' heel, with gussets. Three lines of decreasing were used to round the toes.

Physical description

Pair of man’s boot hose of hand-knitted, 2-ply blue and white wool yarn, with shaped leg and foot with large boot top, worked in the round from the top down. The boot tops are striped horizontally with blue and white wool, with moss stitch diamonds worked in the latter. Below the tops, there is a 3½-inch (8.8 cm) deep band of ribbing (4 knit/4 purl). The legs are knit in stocking stitch with a single moss stitch ‘seam’ at the back and a square heel. Clocks were embroidered with the blue yarn, as well as along the centre back.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1640-1660 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wool, hand-knit, hand-embroidered


Length: 101.5 cm T.63-1910, top to toe approx, Length: 10.25 in foot, Length: 105.0 cm T.63:A-1910, top to toe approx

Descriptive line

Man's boot hose, 1640-60, English; knitted wool white and blue wool, with additional embroidery

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Levey, Santina M. Illustrations of the History of Knitting Selected from the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Textile History Volume 1, Number 2, December 1969. Plate V.


Wool yarn


Hand knitting; Hand embroidery


Footwear; Men's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project; Knitting


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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