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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)
    Spitalfields (textile, woven)

  • Date:

    1845-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jacquard-woven silk satin, wood, backed with silk, lined with glazed cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr H. Arnold Ovenden

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In the 19th century waistcoats tended to be one of the more elaborate and colourful pieces of the male wardrobe, which is partly why they survive in relatively large numbers. They might also have been kept for their decorative quality or for sentimental reasons when they went out of fashion.

This waistcoat has a curved roll collar and fits neatly to just below the waist, dating it in style to 1845 to 1850. The pockets on each forepart, the lapels and the bottom edges of this waistcoat are finished with a fine braid. The back is a deep red silk and it is lined with cream glazed cotton.

Peacock feathers were a popular motif for fabrics worn by both men and women in the middle and later part of the 19th century. In some instances interpreted as symbolic of vanity and luxury, the peacock also represented gracious or knightly demeanour in medieval times, the resurrection and eternal life, and the beauty of an eternity to come in heaven.

Physical description

Man's waistcoat of Jacquard-woven silk satin with a roll collar. With a pattern of peacock feathers and pendulous flower forms surrounding the feathers in cream, blue and fawn on a dark red satin ground. With simple shaped lapels edged with braid. Six covered hand-made buttons constructed over a wooden core that fasten at the lower front and with a pocket at either side edged with a fine braid. Backed with deep red silk and lined with cream glazed cotton.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)
Spitalfields (textile, woven)


1845-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Jacquard-woven silk satin, wood, backed with silk, lined with glazed cotton


Weight: 0.48 kg, Length: 15.25 in centre back, Width: 16.25 in across back

Descriptive line

Man's waistcoat of Jacquard-woven silk satin, textile woven in Spitalfields, made in Great Britain, 1845-1850


Satin; Silk; Glazed cotton



Subjects depicted

Peacock feather


Fashion; Textiles; Men's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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