Bag

1630-1650 (made)
Bag thumbnail 1
Bag thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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 rather simplified pattern of flowers worked in heavy silver and silver-gilt threads and dense texture of the embroidery on this example is characteristic of the period 1630 to 1650.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, silk, silver and silver-gilt threads; hand sewn, hand embroidered, hand plaited
Brief Description
Bag, embroidered linen, 1630-1650, British; silver & silver-gilt thread, purl, strip, with silk strings
Physical Description
A flat square bag of linen with couched ground of silver thread, embroidered with silver-gilt purl, strip, thread and spangles. The bag has silver loops, a silver and coral silk plaited drawstring and finials, and was once lined in pink silk
Dimensions
  • Approx., bag only length: 13.2cm
  • Approx., bag only width: 12.7cm
Summary
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 rather simplified pattern of flowers worked in heavy silver and silver-gilt threads and dense texture of the embroidery on this example is characteristic of the period 1630 to 1650.
Bibliographic Reference
John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.100
Collection
Accession Number
321-1876

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record createdJuly 8, 2008
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