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Pair of gloves

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1610-1630 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Calfskin, silk, silver-gilt thread, bobbin lace, silk thread; hand sewn, hand embroidered, hand lace making

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Gloves could serve several purposes in early 17th century Britain, apart from the obvious ones of protection and warmth. Many were solely decorative, to display the wealth and status of their owner. They were worn in the hat or belt, as well as carried in the hand. Gloves were popular as gifts and were exchanged as a gesture of engagement or wedding present. In combat, a glove was thrown down as a gage, or challenge.

Ornately embroidered gloves served official purposes, signifying the holding of a civic office or membership in the local freemanry. They were also a popular New Year’s gift to the monarch. Gloves were frequently given as a sign of royal favour. The wardrobe accounts for Charles I record the making of more than 1,000 pairs of gloves during a three-year period.

The large size of this pair suggests that they were worn by a man.

Physical description

A pair of man's calfskin gloves dyed brown, with cuffs decorated with applied maroon silk, couched with silver-gilt thread and purl, and embroidered with maroon silk thread in a stylized floral pattern. The cuffs are lined with dark pink silk and edged with maroon silk and silver-gilt fringe. The cuffs are open at the side and held with 3 maroon silk ribbons edged with silver-gilt bobbin lace. The thumb and back seams of the fingers are embroidered with plaited braid stitch in silver-gilt thread.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1610-1630 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Calfskin, silk, silver-gilt thread, bobbin lace, silk thread; hand sewn, hand embroidered, hand lace making

Descriptive line

Pair of gloves in embroidered leather, 1610-1630, British; silver-gilt and silk embroidery and fringe

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.93, plate LXVII


Calfskin; Silk taffeta; Silk thread; Silver-gilt thread; Bobbin lace


Hand sewing; Hand embroidery


Accessories; Clothing; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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