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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1740-1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, hand-sewn with linen thread

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs H. Egland

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The shirt was an item of underwear in the 18th century. Its purpose was to protect the outer clothing from the body in an age when daily bathing was not a common practice. Shirts were purchased in the dozens if the owner could afford them, so that a clean one could be worn every day. They were usually made of linen, a washable and durable fabric. The construction of the shirt was very simple. It was made up of a series of squares and rectangles in a manner so that no scraps were left over after the pieces had been cut from a length of linen. The stitching on 18th-century shirts is extremely fine, so as to prevent seams from fraying during the harsh hand-laundering process. But apart from changes in the depth of cuffs and collars and width of sleeves, the style of the shirt alters little between the 16th century and the mid-19th.

Physical description

Man's linen shirt hand-sewn with linen thread. Standing collar and full sleeves.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1740-1780 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, hand-sewn with linen thread


Length: 38 in back, Width: 23 in shoulders

Descriptive line

Man's linen shirt, Great Britain, 1740-80; standing collar, full sleeves




Hand sewing


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


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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