Nightcap thumbnail 1
Nightcap thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery

Nightcap

1600-1624 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This nightcap is an example of informal headwear for a wealthy man. Headwear was an significant part of dress in the 17th century, for reasons of both fashion and warmth, and although nightcaps were only worn around the home, they could be, like this example, very luxurious. Its rich decoration includes metal spangles (the 17th century term for sequins), silver thread embroidery and silver-gilt bobbin lace which would have reflected the light of candles and fire-places.

The nightcap's pattern of flowers, strawberries, and leaves is typical of the early 17th century. Many embroidery designs were inspired by the botanical picture books popular at the time. By the 1620s patterns specifically for embroidery were being published, often with their designs specially adapted for the shape of the nightcap.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, embroidered with silver-gilt, silver and silk thread, trimmed with silver-gilt bobbin lace
Brief Description
M, linen, 1600-1624, English; Coloured silks, silver-gilt and silver thread
Physical Description
A man's nightcap with floral designs.
Gallery Label
Man's nightcap. English; first quarter 17th century. Linen embroidered with silver-gilt and silver thread, and silk in detached buttonhole, plaited braid, satin, chain and speckling stitches with couched work, knots and spangles. Trimmed with silver-gilt bobbin lace.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This nightcap is an example of informal headwear for a wealthy man. Headwear was an significant part of dress in the 17th century, for reasons of both fashion and warmth, and although nightcaps were only worn around the home, they could be, like this example, very luxurious. Its rich decoration includes metal spangles (the 17th century term for sequins), silver thread embroidery and silver-gilt bobbin lace which would have reflected the light of candles and fire-places.



The nightcap's pattern of flowers, strawberries, and leaves is typical of the early 17th century. Many embroidery designs were inspired by the botanical picture books popular at the time. By the 1620s patterns specifically for embroidery were being published, often with their designs specially adapted for the shape of the nightcap.
Bibliographic Reference
John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.85, plate LXIV a 2
Collection
Accession Number
2016-1899

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
Record URL