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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1625-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered linen canvas in silk and silver threads, lined with silk, hand embroidered, hand plaited

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Frank Ward

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Many decorative early 17th century bags survive, but it is not entirely certain how they were used and worn. They are too delicate and elaborate to serve as receptacles for money carried on one's person on a daily basis. Few commercial exchanges in the early 17th century required cash, and most household shopping was done by servants. However, they were used as a form of gift-wrapping for the presents of coin that were offered as a New Year's gifts to the monarch.

These embroidered bags may also be the 'sweet bags' frequently listed in inventories and offered as gifts. These held perfumed powder or dried flowers and herbs, and were perhaps applied to the nose like a pomander when necessary.

The pattern of flowers and fruits is typical of English embroidery designs in the early 17th century. Embroidery pattern books of the period feature a range of flowers and fruits, inspired by illustrated botanical books and herbals.

Physical description

Flat square bag of embroidered linen canvas worked with a silver thread ground in tent stitch, with scrolls of plaited braid stitch in silver thread and flowers with petals of semi-detached buttonhole stitch in silk, silver thread and silver purl. The bag is lined with coral-pink silk, with plaited coral silk and silver drawstring, silver loops and coral silk tassels.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1625-1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered linen canvas in silk and silver threads, lined with silk, hand embroidered, hand plaited


Length: 9.4 cm without drawstring approx., Width: 10.4 cm without drawstring approx.

Object history note

Similar seventeenth-century embroidered bags can be found in the British Museum (museum number: 1866,0627.146), and in the Burrell Collection (museum number: 29.310).

Descriptive line

Bag of embroidered linen canvas in silk and silver threads, Great Britain, 1625-1650


Linen; Silk taffeta; Silver thread; Silk thread


Hand sewing; Hand embroidery; Plaiting

Subjects depicted

Carnation; Roses; Borage


Textiles; Embroidery; Accessories; Clothing; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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