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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1628 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Kidskin leather, silk, glass beads, lined with silk, hand sewn, hand beaded, hand plaited

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Frank Ward

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A number of beaded bags from the early 17th century survive. Their stylised floral patterns and less expensive materials imitate the elaborate embroidered versions carried by the aristocracy. Many bear mottos or expressions relating to charity, friendship or luck, which suggests that they may have been used for gifts of money. This example is inscribed 'the gift of a frend'.

The development of the 'drawn-glass' technique about 1490 allowed the manufacture of large numbers of small, round, coloured beads with a central hole, of the type used in this purse. The glassworks on the island of Murano near Venice were the most famous during the Renaissance, but by the early 17th century the technology had spread to glass-making centres in Amsterdam and Bavaria. Beads were produced mainly for trade with North America and Africa, but they were also sold in Europe for use in embroidery.

Physical description

Flat and square bag of kidskin leather covered with red silk at the top and beaded in a repeating pattern of an abstract floral motif with maroon, blue, yellow and white glass beads. The bag is lined with brown silk and has a drawstring of plaited pink and green silk thread, and with beaded finials.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1628 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Kidskin leather, silk, glass beads, lined with silk, hand sewn, hand beaded, hand plaited

Marks and inscriptions

Worked in white beads


Length: 13.2 cm approx., Width: 13.8 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Bag of beaded kidskin leather and silk, Great Britain, 1628


Kidskin; Silk taffeta; Silk thread; Glass-beads


Hand sewing; Hand beading; Plaiting


Accessories; Clothing; Fashion; Textiles; Leather; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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