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Not currently on display at the V&A

Apron

1580-1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Paintings from the late 16th and early 17th century show that finely worked linen aprons were common accessories in aristocratic women’s informal dress and middle-class women’s dress. However, because of their elaborate lace and embroidery these aprons were never intended as protective accessories, but as a symbol of an accomplished and capable wife (and in the case of young girls, potential wife). Because of their fragile fabrics and potential for recycling into smaller garments or accessories, few aprons have survived in museum collections.

This finely worked cutwork apron is probably unfinished. It would have had an edging of needle or bobbin lace, and more embroidery in coloured silks may have been intended.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered
Brief Description
A woman's apron of linen, 1580-99, English; cutwork in lozenge pattern, probably unfinished
Physical Description
An apron made of a width of linen (with selvage at either side) and embellished in cutwork in simple oval, squares and circles, with white linen thread in an overall lozenge pattern. It has a narrow hem at the bottom. At the waist, the linen is gathered and bound by a narrow linen tape which extends at either side into the strings for tying around the waist.
Dimensions
  • Approx. length: 93.2cm
  • Approx. width: 76.6cm
Style
Credit line
Given by Captain A. M. Hughes
Object history
The apron is part of a collection originally owned by the late Mrs Augustus Edmonds.
Summary
Paintings from the late 16th and early 17th century show that finely worked linen aprons were common accessories in aristocratic women’s informal dress and middle-class women’s dress. However, because of their elaborate lace and embroidery these aprons were never intended as protective accessories, but as a symbol of an accomplished and capable wife (and in the case of young girls, potential wife). Because of their fragile fabrics and potential for recycling into smaller garments or accessories, few aprons have survived in museum collections.



This finely worked cutwork apron is probably unfinished. It would have had an edging of needle or bobbin lace, and more embroidery in coloured silks may have been intended.
Collection
Accession Number
T.87-1917

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record createdJuly 6, 2005
Record URL