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Coat

1750-1759 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Thick wool fabric lends a sculptural quality to the ‘mariner’s cuff’ on this strictly utilitarian garment. Such a style of cuff was first seen on the coats worn by naval officers in the 1740s (navy uniform was not made official until 1748) and became a popular feature of both men’s fashionable coats and ladies’ riding jackets. A vertical opening with a scalloped flap runs parallel to the length of the sleeve and intersects the cuff.

The lack of any decoration except a brown velvet collar reinforces the coat’s informality. Its grey-brown shade suggests that it might be the colour known in the 18th century as ‘drab’. A label sewn to the inside collar indicates that this coat once belonged to the 19th-century theatrical costumiers, L & H Nathan, where it experienced a second life, no doubt one more arduous, on the stage.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wool, silk and linen, hand-woven broadcloth and velvet, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Man's frock, 1750s, British; grey-brown wool, fawn velvet collar, mariner's cuff
Physical Description
A man's coat (frock) of grey-brown woollen broadcloth. It has a round neckline with a small, two-piece cape (turn-down collar) of pieced fawn-coloured silk velvet. The two-piece, shaped sleeves end at the wrist with a mariner's cuff - a round cuff (12 cm deep at top, 13 cm deep at bottom) crossed in front with a scalloped flap. The coat fronts curve from neck to waist, continuing straight to the hem. The skirts extend from the hip and are set with one pleat at the front and one at the back (16 cm deep), at the side seams. There is an inverted pleat on each side of the opening at centre back. There is a scalloped pocket flap at hip level on each front. The pockets are lined with coarse brown wool, the cape with the grey-brown broadcloth, the rest of the coat with glazed grey-brown linen. Twelve passementerie buttons of grey linen thread (5 now missing) on the right front correspond to 12 buttonholes on the left side. Four uncut buttonholes on each pocket flap correspond to 4 passementerie buttons on the coat below. The scalloped flap of the cuff has 4 cut buttonholes, correspoonding to 4 passementerie button on each cuff. There is a button at the top of the pleats on each side and another holding the front and back pleats together above the hem. There are two uncut buttonholes on each side at the top of the back vent.



The coat was worn as theatre costume in the 19th century. There is a 'L & H Nathan' label sewn to the right back lining below the collar. Two buttons at waist level have been moved closer to the front edge.
Dimensions
  • Weight: 3kg
  • Length: 104.0cm (approx) (Note: collar to hem at right front)
  • Chest under armholes circumference: 123.0cm (approx)
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
By appointment / to her Majesty the Queen / L & H Nathan / Court / Costumiers / Gown and / Robe makers (Printed in brown ink on glazed linen and sewn to the right back lining below the collar)
Object history
The coat was purchased from L & H Nathan in 1907.
Summary
Thick wool fabric lends a sculptural quality to the ‘mariner’s cuff’ on this strictly utilitarian garment. Such a style of cuff was first seen on the coats worn by naval officers in the 1740s (navy uniform was not made official until 1748) and became a popular feature of both men’s fashionable coats and ladies’ riding jackets. A vertical opening with a scalloped flap runs parallel to the length of the sleeve and intersects the cuff.



The lack of any decoration except a brown velvet collar reinforces the coat’s informality. Its grey-brown shade suggests that it might be the colour known in the 18th century as ‘drab’. A label sewn to the inside collar indicates that this coat once belonged to the 19th-century theatrical costumiers, L & H Nathan, where it experienced a second life, no doubt one more arduous, on the stage.
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
467-1907

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record createdAugust 15, 2006
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