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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1600-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered linen canvas in silk and silver threads, foil, hand sewn, lined with silk

  • 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 and square bag of hand-embroidered linen canvas worked in tent stitch with a silver thread ground and coloured silk flowers with silver foil and thread loop centres. The bag is lined in coral-pink silk. The silk drawstring is probably an replacement.

The design consists of four scrolling branches arranged as a quatrefoil with flowers inside each scroll, and flowers on either side.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1600-1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered linen canvas in silk and silver threads, foil, hand sewn, lined with silk


Length: 9.5 cm without drawstring approx., Width: 10.6 cm without drawstring approx.

Descriptive line

Bag of embroidered linen canvas in silk and silver threads, Great Britain, 1600-1650


Linen; Silk taffeta; Silver thread; Silver foil; Silk thread


Hand sewing; Hand embroidery

Subjects depicted



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


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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