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Pair of mittens

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1830-1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Machine net, silk ribbon, embroidered silver and silver gilt thread, purple glass beads, embroidered coloured silk thread

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    T.1716&A-1913

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In the 19th century gloves were an indispensable accessory for women. They were worn for day and evening wear. Wealthy women owned many pairs suited to different occasions and carefully chosen to match particular outfits. Strict rules applied to the wearing of gloves. A woman would be considered undressed if she left the house ungloved and it was customary, for instance, to keep gloves on in church, at the theatre and at balls.

In a period of increasing modesty mittens were a pretty and comfortable fashion for keeping the hands covered, allowing the freedom to do needlework by day and to dine in the evening. Black silk, machine-made net mittens such as these would have been worn with semi-formal evening dress, and were seen as a perfectly acceptable alternative to evening gloves when worn by the very young or the very old. The gloves have two openings, one for the thumb and a single space for the fingers, allowing even greater freedom of movement. The floral design on the back of the hands, typical of the time, is formed of hand embroidered coloured silk and silver gilt thread, with the addition of a single purple glass bead on each. The weight of this fine embroidery on the delicate netting would have made this an essentially ephemeral design only suitable to be worn a small number of times. The good condition of this pair suggests they were barely, if ever, worn. The dark colour, silk net ruching and black silk ribbon, tied in a bow at the wrist, suggest that these were intended for evening wear and not day wear.

Physical description

Black silk, machine-made net mittens with a floral design on the back of the hands, formed of hand embroidered coloured silk and silver gilt thread, with the addition of a single purple glass bead on each.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1830-1840 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Machine net, silk ribbon, embroidered silver and silver gilt thread, purple glass beads, embroidered coloured silk thread

Dimensions

Length: 14 cm, Width: 9 cm across palm

Object history note

Part of Messrs Harrods gift

Descriptive line

Pair of mittens, Black silk, machine-made with a floral design and a single purple glass bead on each glove, made in England, 1830-1840

Materials

Machine made net; Silver thread; Ribbon; Silver gilt thread; Glass beads; Silk thread

Techniques

Netting; Embroidery

Subjects depicted

Floral motifs

Categories

Accessories

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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