Breeches thumbnail 1
Breeches thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Breeches

1750s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Breeches made in the 18th century have a distinctive cut. The legs are widely splayed, and the back of the breeches are much deeper than the front. This follows the cut of breeches made for horseback riding. Even though a pair made of fine silk, such as these, would never have been worn when sitting on a horse, the style is the same, illustrating the conservative nature of the tailoring trade. The cut of breeches changed little during the 18th century. Some guidelines for dating them are the more streamlined style of the latter half of the century, compared to the baggier fit of the period 1700-1750. As the waistcoat shortened through the century, the front closing of the breeches changed from the fly-front of the first half of the century to a more modest fall-front opening of the period 1750-1800.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, cotton, linen; hand-woven, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Man's breeches of maroon and white figured silk, woven in France and made in Great Britain, 1750s
Physical Description
Man’s breeches made of yellow silk with silver strip, maroon and white figured silk, and lined with fustian. There are 2 fronts, two backs and 2 waistbands; the back legs are cut higher than the fronts and gathered into the back of the waistbands. There is a pocket on each side, closed with a flap with button and buttonhole. The breeches close with 3 buttonholes and 3 yellow silk and silver foil and purl passementerie buttons at the centre-front waistband. There are straps for a buckle at centre back. There are 4 buttonholes outlined with silver-gilt strip on each leg; the buttons are all now missing. The knee bands fasten with a length of silver-gilt woven lace [braid], with a worked opening at one end to hold a buckle.
Dimensions
  • Outside right leg, overall length: 59.0cm (approx)
  • Inside right leg length: 39.0cm (approx)
  • Width:
  • Right waistband width: 41.0cm (approx)
  • Left waistband width: 40.8cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by Mrs H. H. Fraser
Summary
Breeches made in the 18th century have a distinctive cut. The legs are widely splayed, and the back of the breeches are much deeper than the front. This follows the cut of breeches made for horseback riding. Even though a pair made of fine silk, such as these, would never have been worn when sitting on a horse, the style is the same, illustrating the conservative nature of the tailoring trade. The cut of breeches changed little during the 18th century. Some guidelines for dating them are the more streamlined style of the latter half of the century, compared to the baggier fit of the period 1700-1750. As the waistcoat shortened through the century, the front closing of the breeches changed from the fly-front of the first half of the century to a more modest fall-front opening of the period 1750-1800.
Collection
Accession Number
T.435-1967

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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