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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1630-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, silk, silver-gilt thread, silk thread; hand sewn, hand embroidered

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

Physical description

A square, flat bag of linen embroidered with silver-gilt thread and green silk thread in gobelin, chain, stem, lattice and interlaced ladder stitches in pattern of flowers with raised petals in detached buttonhole stitch. It was once lined with coral-pink silk and has green silk and silver-gilt drawstring, finials, loops and tassels.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1630-1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, silk, silver-gilt thread, silk thread; hand sewn, hand embroidered


Length: 10.9 cm approx., bag only, Width: 10.3 cm approx., bag only

Descriptive line

Bag of embroidered canvas, 1630-1650, British; raised silver gilt thread, green silk trim

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.99, plate LXIX

Labels and date

Bag. English; first half 17th century. Linen canvas embroidered with silver-gilt thread and silk in Gobelin, chain, stem, detached buttonhole, lattice and interlaced ladder stitches. []


Linen; Silk taffeta; Silver-gilt thread; Silk thread


Hand sewing; Hand embroidery

Subjects depicted

Carnations; Roses


Textiles; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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