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Pair of Pockets thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Pockets

1700-1725 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In the 18th century, women's pockets were not sewn into their gowns. Instead they were attached to a tape and tied around the waist as separate garments. Worn under the hoops and petticoats, they were accessed through openings in the gown and petticoat seams.

This single surviving pocket is decorated with a yellow vermicelli ground and small floral motifs. The floral motifs show the influence of Indian printed textiles, while the squiggly background pattern known as vermicelli (Italian for 'little worms') comes from Indian embroidery. Similar patterns appear on British furnishing fabrics, usually larger and more complex in scale.

The top of the pocket is angled, suggesting that it might help orient the pocket along the waist. This would depend on which side it was worn on and whether the ties fastened at the front or back of the waist.
read Women's tie-on pockets The development of 'tie-on' pockets during the 17th century was a defining moment for women, providing an extremely popular detachable accessory for carrying their possessions, similar to the function of handbags today.
object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Pocket
  • Pocket
Materials and Techniques
Linen, silk; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Pair of woman's pockets of linen, 1700-25, British; embroidered with coloured silks, bound yellow silk ribbon
Physical Description
Pair of woman's pockets of fine bleached linen, bound with yelllow silk ribbon. They are embroidered with coloured silk floss in small floral motifs with a vermicelli ground in yellow floss in backstitch.
Dimensions
  • CIR c.86 1938 length: 40.5cm (approx)
  • CIR c.86 a 1938 length: 40.0cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by J. L. Nevinson
Subject depicted
Summary
In the 18th century, women's pockets were not sewn into their gowns. Instead they were attached to a tape and tied around the waist as separate garments. Worn under the hoops and petticoats, they were accessed through openings in the gown and petticoat seams.



This single surviving pocket is decorated with a yellow vermicelli ground and small floral motifs. The floral motifs show the influence of Indian printed textiles, while the squiggly background pattern known as vermicelli (Italian for 'little worms') comes from Indian embroidery. Similar patterns appear on British furnishing fabrics, usually larger and more complex in scale.



The top of the pocket is angled, suggesting that it might help orient the pocket along the waist. This would depend on which side it was worn on and whether the ties fastened at the front or back of the waist.
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.86, 87-1938

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record createdDecember 20, 2004
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