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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1670-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pierced silver

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 6

Object Type
This silver bodkin was among the contents of an embroidered casket used by a young girl, Martha Edlin, to store her small personal possessions. It is marked with her initials M E . It would have been used to thread cords and ribbons, which played an essential part in the fastening of clothes in the 17th century.

A group of Martha Edlin's (1660-1725) possessions from her childhood, including this bodkin, were kept in the casket, cherished by her descendants and passed down through the female line in her family for over three hundred years. We know little about her life, except that she married a man called Richard Richmond and appears to have been a prosperous widow living in Pinner in Greater London at the time she drew up her will, with daughters and grandchildren.

Physical description

Silver bodkin with one end rounded and pierced with a round hole, and the other end tapering to a blunt point. There is also a central slit pierced near the round end. The initials 'ME' (for Martha Edlin) are engraved on one side, otherwise it is plain.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1670-1680 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Pierced silver

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved, for Martha Edlin


Length: 9 cm, Width: 0.4 cm maximum, Depth: 0.1 cm

Object history note

Purchased. Registered File number 1989/1572.

Descriptive line

Silver bodkin, made in England, 1670-1680

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Martha Edlin's silver toys and jewellery came to the Museum in her casket. Some are practical, such as the manicure set and the bodkin which was used for threading ribbons. She may have played with the tiny silver trenchers (plates), spoons and salts. The round locket and heart-shaped box are stamped with images of King Charles II. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

From Martha Edlin's casket






Metalwork; British Galleries; Needlework accessories


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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