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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1895-1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Marshall & Snelgrove Ltd (maker)
    Marshall & Snelgrove Ltd (retailer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered velvet with silks, satin, felt, machine-made lace, lined with silk, canvas, metal

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs A. Poliakoff

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Fashion, Room 40, case CA6, shelf FIG6

This coat reflects the influence of the European Arts and Crafts Movement. It features a medieval-style collar and is entirely covered in dramatic sprays of an English wildflower called Sweet Cicely hand-embroidered in yellow and green silk, with petals of white felt.

The influence of the Arts and Crafts movement is apparent in this coat, hand-embroidered with sprays of an English wildflower called sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata). In the 1880s William Morris and other English artists rejected the dominance of the machine in British art and design. Their attempts to preserve the traditional designs and craftsmanship of textiles, furniture, ceramics and architecture created the Arts and Crafts style. Wild flowers were popular motifs, evoking the simplicity and charm of English country life, now vanishing in the face of urbanisation and the industrial revolution. Echoing these concerns, ‘Aesthetic’ dress of the 1870s rejected the fussy and upholstered look of women’s fashion. Although at first ridiculed, many of the decorative features of ‘Aesthetic’ dress were absorbed into mainstream fashion by the 1890s.

Marshall and Snelgrove were one of London’s exclusive department stores, founded in 1837 by James Marshall who was succeeded by his son in partnership with John Snelgrove in 1871. Bespoke dressmaking was an important feature of their store on Oxford Street and the coat combines the fashionable high collar and full sleeves with the artistic design of the embroidery.

Physical description

Purple velvet coat with a medieval-styled collar and white satin and lace panels. It is entirely covered in dramatic sprays of sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) embroidered in yellow and green silks in feather-stitch and couched work, and with petals of white felt and applied by means of a French knot in the centre worked in yellow silk.

The coat is full length with a close fitting bodice, flared skirt cut in one piece, leg of mutton sleeves and a rounded stand-up collar. The main part of the coat is made up of five panels of velvet which are joined together by insertions of cream-coloured machine-made lace backed with cream-coloured silk. The sleeves have similar insertion. The velvet panels and sleeves are heavily embroidered with a design of stylised hydrangeas.

The coat is lined with cream-coloured silk and there is an inner lining of a woollen gauze-like fabric. The collar is lined with canvas and stiffened with wires. The coat fastens down the front with hooks and eyes. One of the sleeves has a trimming of machine-made lace.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1895-1900 (made)


Marshall & Snelgrove Ltd (maker)
Marshall & Snelgrove Ltd (retailer)

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered velvet with silks, satin, felt, machine-made lace, lined with silk, canvas, metal

Marks and inscriptions

Marshall & Snelgrove.
On label on collar


Width: 53.5 cm intact panel of silk, including selvedges

Descriptive line

Embroidered velvet coat with silks, satin and machine-made lace, made and retailed by Marshall and Snelgrove, England, 1895-1900

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

Karen Livingstone and Linda Parry, eds., International Arts & Crafts (V&A: V&A Publications, 2005), p.227.


Velvet; Satin; Lace


Embroidery; Applique; Lace making; Weaving

Subjects depicted



Fashion; Clothing; Lace; Textiles; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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