Waistcoat

1744 (made)
Waistcoat thumbnail 1
Waistcoat thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This style of whitework waistcoat was popular in the 1740s, most likely worn for informal summer wear. On the lower corner of each front, heart-shaped insertions of hollie point needlework bear the initials ‘PB’ and ‘AB’ and the date 1744. This suggests that the waistcoat was made for, or commemorates, a wedding. It is corded and embroidered around the front edges and on the pocket flaps in a pattern of stylised flowers and leaves. A variety of stitches can be seen, including stem, satin and running stitch, with French knots.
The waistcoat appears to have been worn for over a decade. Several alterations were made to allow for the rising hemline of waistcoats through the 1750s, as well as the wearer’s expanding waistline.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, linen, silk thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Man's waistcoat, 1744, British; cotton, embroidered whitework, cording, net insertions, hollie point
Physical Description
Man’s waistcoat with a round neck, curved fronts and skirts reaching to mid-thigh. Each front has a pocket and shaped pocket flap. The fronts, pocket flaps and pocket-flap linings are made of fine bleached cotton; the back of bleached linen. The waistcoat and pockets are lined with bleached linen. The fronts are embroidered-to-shape with white silk thread in a pattern of flowers and leaves with French knots, satin stitch, net insertions and drawn-thread work against a background of corded shell pattern. At each front corner is a heart-shaped insertion worked in hollie point with the initials ‘P B’ on the right and ‘A B’ on the right; both with the date ‘1744’. There are 15 worked buttonholes on a strip of fine linen under the left front edge and 15 corresponding Dorset thread buttons on the right front.



The waistcoat was altered, probably in the lifetime of the wearer; 2 darts were added to each front from the side seams, and 1 in each armhole.
Dimensions
  • Right shoulder to hem length: 83.5cm (approx)
  • Chest under armholes circumference: 113.5cm (approx)
Marks and Inscriptions
  • P B / 1744 (worked in hollie point in a heart on corner of right front and hem )
  • A B / 1744 (worked in hollie point in a heart on corner of left front and hem)
Credit line
Given by E. Wallace Young
Summary
This style of whitework waistcoat was popular in the 1740s, most likely worn for informal summer wear. On the lower corner of each front, heart-shaped insertions of hollie point needlework bear the initials ‘PB’ and ‘AB’ and the date 1744. This suggests that the waistcoat was made for, or commemorates, a wedding. It is corded and embroidered around the front edges and on the pocket flaps in a pattern of stylised flowers and leaves. A variety of stitches can be seen, including stem, satin and running stitch, with French knots.

The waistcoat appears to have been worn for over a decade. Several alterations were made to allow for the rising hemline of waistcoats through the 1750s, as well as the wearer’s expanding waistline.
Collection
Accession Number
T.207-1957

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record createdAugust 30, 2005
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