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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1560 - 1580 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, linen thread, silk thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The smock was originally dated to the early seventeenth century and published as such in Hart and North, Historical Fashion in Detail (1998). However a closer look at the integral ruffle at the collar and cuffs reveals that these are inconsistent with the period of the separate ruff, c.1575 to 1620. Therefore the smock must date to the decades just before this period, 1560-1580.

Physical description

The smock is made of linen and has a high neck and collar, long sleeves with cuffs, and side gores. The collar and cuffs have an integral 'ruffle' of finer linen. The front and back above the waist, sleeves, collar and cuffs are embroidered in back stitch with red silk. The linen is a balanced weave of 40 threads per cm. The design is strapwork in diamond shapes with figure-of-eight knots. Stylised roses and gilly flowers are worked within the strapwork.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1560 - 1580 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, linen thread, silk thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn


Length: 130.0 cm top of neck ruffle to hem approx, Width: 155.5 cm total width with sleeves outstretched approx

Descriptive line

A woman's smock, 1560-1580, British; Linen embroidered with red silk in a design of strapwork and flowers

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

Hart & North, 'Historic Dress in Detail' (V&A: V&A Publications, 1998), p.150.
Janet Arnold, Jenny Tiramani and Santina M Levey, Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women, c.1540-1660, pp.59, 116


Linen (material); Silk thread; Linen thread


Hand weaving; Hand embroidery; Hand sewing

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Trellis


Women's clothes; Embroidery; Underwear; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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