Coat

1730-1739 (made)
Coat thumbnail 1
Coat thumbnail 2
+3
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A deep, gently rounded cuff is the stylistic focus of this plain silk coat of the 1730s. Known variously as an open cuff or open sleeve, it would have extended well past the elbow in the deep curved shape fashionable at the time. The coat reaches the knee, with buttons and buttonholes running from neck to hem, and full, heavy pleats at each side – all characteristic of men’s dress of this period. Although many coats were made of richly coloured velvets and wools, with lavish embroidery, this example demonstrates a popular alternative. Made of fawn-coloured ribbed silk, the coat has no adornment except simple thread-covered buttons. In the early 18th century, subtle hues of mauve, grey and light brown were given descriptive names, such as ‘mouse’, ‘ash’ and ‘tobacco’.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, linen, linen thread; hand-woven silk and buckram, passementerie, hand-sewn
Brief Description
A man's coat, 1730-39, British, light brown silk, open curved cuff
Physical Description
A man's coat of fawn-coloured silk. It has a round neck, bound with a narrow strip of silk. The sleeves are cut in two, shaped pieces, to fit loosely, ending above the wrist in a deep, curved, open cuffs - 24 cm deep at the front and 30 cm at the back. The coat fronts curve out from the neck over the chest, in below the waist and continue straight to the hem. The coat fronts are fitted to the torso to the hip, with wide skirts below it, set in 3 pleats (ca. 18 cm deep) front and back. There is an inverted pleat on each side of the centre back opening of the skirts. The horizontal pocket flaps are shaped in three lobes and placed at the hip level on the coat fronts. The coat, sleeves, pocket flaps and pockets are lined with light-brown silk, with a buckram interlining throughout, and added padding in the skirt pleats. There are 22 , brown linen-thread passementerie buttons on the right front and 22 buttonholes on the left front, worked in brown linen thread. Only the top 14 buttonholes are cut. There are 5 uncut buttonholes on the pocket flaps and corresponding buttons on the coat. There are 10 uncut buttonholes on each side of the centre back opening. Five uncut buttonholes decorate the top edge of the cuffs, sewn to the sleeve with corresponding buttons.



The coat was altered to enlarge it during its lifetime. The side seams were let out and triangular insertions added to the sleeve and sleeve lining on the underside at the armhole seam.



Dimensions
  • Shoulder to hem at centre back length: 110.0cm (approx)
  • Chest under armholes circumference: 112.0cm (approx)
Production typeUnique
Summary
A deep, gently rounded cuff is the stylistic focus of this plain silk coat of the 1730s. Known variously as an open cuff or open sleeve, it would have extended well past the elbow in the deep curved shape fashionable at the time. The coat reaches the knee, with buttons and buttonholes running from neck to hem, and full, heavy pleats at each side – all characteristic of men’s dress of this period. Although many coats were made of richly coloured velvets and wools, with lavish embroidery, this example demonstrates a popular alternative. Made of fawn-coloured ribbed silk, the coat has no adornment except simple thread-covered buttons. In the early 18th century, subtle hues of mauve, grey and light brown were given descriptive names, such as ‘mouse’, ‘ash’ and ‘tobacco’.
Bibliographic Reference
Hart, Avril and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries, London: V&A Publications, 1998, p. 88
Collection
Accession Number
658-1898

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record createdAugust 15, 2006
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