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Waistcoat

1775-1780 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The fabric of this shimmering waistcoat incorporates a warp of gold thread into its ground weave of silk; its contemporary name was tissue. A pattern of swags, bows and floral sprays in silver-gilt spangles (sequins) and threads is embroidered over the golden material. Red and green spangles and red foil (enamelled copper or silver) enliven the design. The lightness of the pattern and use of the swag motif conform to the new aesthetic of the Neo-classical style. At the same time, the floral elements and curvilinear arrangement are features of earlier Rococo design.

This waistcoat was most likely to have been worn at court. Similar fabric and embroidery can be seen on the waistcoat worn by Captain William Wade in his portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of 1771.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, linen, silver-gilt, enamel; hand-sewn and hand-embroidered
Brief Description
Man's court waistcoat, 1775-80, British; of French silver-gilt silk tissue, silver-gilt embroidery, red foils
Physical Description
Man’s court waistcoat with a round neckline, curving fronts and skirts reaching to the top of the thigh. Each front has a pocket and pointed pocket flap. The fronts and pocket flaps are made of silver-gilt silk tissue, the back of cream silk twill. The waistcoat and pocket flaps are lined with cream silk twill, the pockets with bleached linen. The waistcoat is embroidered-to-shape with red foil, green spangles, silver-gilt foil, spangles and purl in a pattern of small flowers and swags against a background of repeating small floral sprigs , on the pocket flaps, below the pockets and along the front edges and hems. There are 13 buttonholes worked in silver-gilt thread along the left front with 13 silver-gilt and foil passementerie buttons on the right front and 3 below each pocket.
Dimensions
  • Right shoulder to hem length: 82.0cm (approx)
  • Chest under armholes circumference: 109.5cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Phoebe Timpson
Object history
Registered File number 1994/409.
Summary
The fabric of this shimmering waistcoat incorporates a warp of gold thread into its ground weave of silk; its contemporary name was tissue. A pattern of swags, bows and floral sprays in silver-gilt spangles (sequins) and threads is embroidered over the golden material. Red and green spangles and red foil (enamelled copper or silver) enliven the design. The lightness of the pattern and use of the swag motif conform to the new aesthetic of the Neo-classical style. At the same time, the floral elements and curvilinear arrangement are features of earlier Rococo design.



This waistcoat was most likely to have been worn at court. Similar fabric and embroidery can be seen on the waistcoat worn by Captain William Wade in his portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of 1771.
Bibliographic Reference
Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the 17th and 18th centuries, London: V&A, 1998, p. 146
Collection
Accession Number
T.364-1995

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record createdJuly 20, 2007
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