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  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, made)
    Italy (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1630-1639 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, silk thread; hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss F. M. P. Hipwood

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Exquisitely fine needlework adorns this man’s shirt of the 1630s. The technique used is drawn thread and pulled thread work, where strands of the woven linen are cut and pulled away. The remaining warp or weft threads are then embroidered together to create an openwork effect. This style of needlework can be found on the edge of the shirt front, back, sleeves and underarm gusset, as part of the finishing of all the raw edges. Each piece is then embroidered together rather than using conventional seams. French knots and insertion work further embellish the shirt cuffs, collar, shoulder and front.

It is not clear where this shirt was made. Although the overall embroidery style is similar to Italian needlework, it is slightly different in detail. The shirt may be an English imitation of an admired foreign example. The wide short sleeves of the shirt are characteristic of the 1630s and may well have been visible through the open seam of the doublet sleeve.

Physical description

A man's shirt of linen of balanced weave with 30-34 threads per cm. Raw edges of all pieces finished with drawn-thread & pulled fabric work then faggotted together. Whitework & insertion on shoulders and shirt front.

Place of Origin

England (possibly, made)
Italy (possibly, made)


1630-1639 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, silk thread; hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the 17th and 18th centuries, London: V&A, 1998, p. 194


Linen; Silk thread


Hand sewing


Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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