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Pair of mittens

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1840-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Machine net, embroidered silk thread, bobbin lace

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • 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 such as these were a pretty and comfortable fashion for keeping the hands covered, allowing the freedom to do needlework or play cards by day and to dine in the evening. Although vital in the 1830s and 40s, they fell out of fashion in the middle of the century, appearing again, less prominently in the 1870s and 80s. These cream silk net mittens would have been worn with a day dress. They have two openings, one for the thumb and a single space for the fingers, allowing even greater freedom of movement. The main body of the glove is a machine net ground with hand embroidered floral motifs. Strips of bobbin lace have been added around the wrist and at the finger opening. These appear to be an afterthought as they cover some of the embroidered design. As an inexpensive alternative to leather gloves most aristocratic women would have owned dozens of pairs of mittens such as these.

Physical description

Cream silk net mittens, with two openings, one for the thumb and a single space for the fingers. The mittens are embroidered with floral motifs,

Place of Origin

England (made)


1840-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Machine net, embroidered silk thread, bobbin lace


Length: 27.5 cm, Width: 13 cm across palm

Object history note

Part of Messrs Harrods gift

Descriptive line

Pair of mittens, cream silk with embroidered floral motifs, made in England, 1840-1850


Machine made net; Silk thread; Bobbin lace


Machine made netting; Hand embroidery; Bobbin lace

Subjects depicted

Floral motifs




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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