Coif thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery

Coif

1550-1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This coif is made of fine linen, gathered into a small needle lace roundel at the top, and with very long lappets which are integral and which taper gradually to a point. It is decorated with horizontal bands of cutwork with needle lace fillings, and edged with small triangular needle lace motifs, each one finished off with a tiny trefoil.

Nothing is known about how the coif was preserved before it entered the Museum's collection in the 1960s, and the survival of such a fragile object, intended to be functional even though it is so decorative, is rare. The needle lace which decorates it is Italian in style, and similar to designs published in Venetian pattern books of the 1590s. The overall shape of the coif, however, with its long lappets, is Flemish. Italian pattern books for lace circulated in Flanders, and the coif may well have been made there.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen with cutwork and needle lace
Brief Description
Coif of linen with cutwork and needle lace, possibly made in Italy or Flanders region, 1550-1600
Physical Description
Coif of white linen gathered into a small needle lace roundel at the top, and with very long lappets which are integral and which taper gradually to a point. Decorated with horizontal bands of needle lace in a pattern of small open squares, each one containing a motif arranged diagonally, to give a chevron effect. Edged with small triangular needle lace motifs, each one finished off with a tiny trefoil.
Dimensions
  • From crown to point of lappet length: 98cm (approx.)
  • Broadest point width: 43cm
  • Length: 39.5in
  • Width: 9in (maximum)
Credit line
Given by Miss G. I. Weinberg
Object history
Nothing is known about how this coif was preserved before it entered the Museum's collection in the 1960s, and the survival of such a fragile object, intended to be functional even though it is so decorative, is rare. It was given from a private textile collection; the donor had a particular interest in lace and whitework embroidery.
Historical context
The needle lace which decorates this coif is Italian in style, and similar to designs published in Venetian pattern books of the 1590s. The overall shape of the coif, however, with its long lappets, is Flemish. Italian pattern books for lace circulated in Flanders, and the coif may well have been made there. Comparable examples can be seen in 16th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, for example the Family Portrait by Maerten van Heemskerck (b.1498 Heemskerck, d.1574 Haarlem) in the Staatliche Museen, Kassel, Germany.
Production
The lace is Italian in style, but the shape of the coif is Flemish.
Summary
This coif is made of fine linen, gathered into a small needle lace roundel at the top, and with very long lappets which are integral and which taper gradually to a point. It is decorated with horizontal bands of cutwork with needle lace fillings, and edged with small triangular needle lace motifs, each one finished off with a tiny trefoil.



Nothing is known about how the coif was preserved before it entered the Museum's collection in the 1960s, and the survival of such a fragile object, intended to be functional even though it is so decorative, is rare. The needle lace which decorates it is Italian in style, and similar to designs published in Venetian pattern books of the 1590s. The overall shape of the coif, however, with its long lappets, is Flemish. Italian pattern books for lace circulated in Flanders, and the coif may well have been made there.
Collection
Accession Number
T.83-1961

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record createdOctober 27, 2005
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