Pocket thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pocket

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 pocket of linen is adorned with crewel embroidery, reflecting the tradition of British embroidery with worsted thread of the late 1600s and early 1700s. However the pointed ends of the petals and leaves show the influence of Indian printed cottons. The embroidery motifs mirror each other on either side of the pocket, but are asymmetrical enough to suggest they were drawn free-hand. Around the pocket opening is a design imitating the kind of metal mount used on furniture of the period.

There is a slight angle to the top of the pocket implying that it might align to one or other side of the body. It is not clear from the documentation about pockets and images of women wearing them whether they were tied at the front or the back of the waist.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, cotton, wool; hand-woven, hand embroidered, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Woman's pocket of linen twill, 1700-1725, British; with crewel embroidery
Physical Description
Woman's pocket of linen twill, pieced with fustian twill at the top, the back of fustian twill. It is embroidered in chain stitch with yellow, green, red, pink and blue worsted thread in a pattern of floral motifs and gadrooned scroll around the opening. The pocket is bound with linen tape, the ties have been cut off.
Dimensions
  • Overall length: 34cm (approx)
  • Width: 21cm (maximum)
  • Overall width: 21.0cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.
Object history
Given by Messrs. Harrods in 1913, part of a very large collection of historical dress bought by them from the artists Talbot Hughes who amassed the objects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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 pocket of linen is adorned with crewel embroidery, reflecting the tradition of British embroidery with worsted thread of the late 1600s and early 1700s. However the pointed ends of the petals and leaves show the influence of Indian printed cottons. The embroidery motifs mirror each other on either side of the pocket, but are asymmetrical enough to suggest they were drawn free-hand. Around the pocket opening is a design imitating the kind of metal mount used on furniture of the period.



There is a slight angle to the top of the pocket implying that it might align to one or other side of the body. It is not clear from the documentation about pockets and images of women wearing them whether they were tied at the front or the back of the waist.
Collection
Accession Number
T.730B-1913

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record createdDecember 20, 2004
Record URL