Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1600-1624 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, embroidered with silver-gilt, silver and silk thread, trimmed with silver-gilt bobbin lace

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 9

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.

Physical description

A man's nightcap with floral designs.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1600-1624 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, embroidered with silver-gilt, silver and silk thread, trimmed with silver-gilt bobbin lace

Descriptive line

M, linen, 1600-1624, English; Coloured silks, silver-gilt and silver thread

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

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

Labels and date

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

Strawberry; Leaf; Flowers; Floral patterns


Embroidery; Nightwear; Hats & headwear; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.