Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Layette pincushion

Layette pincushion

  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1838 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted velvet with pins

  • Museum number:

    MISC.93-1985

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Layette pincushions were given as presents to women who had newly or recently born babies. They were in theory useful as well as symbolic, because baby clothes in the UK were often fastened with ordinary pins until the successful marketing of the safety pin in the 1870s.

In some areas it was considered very unlucky to give the pincushion before the birth: not only was this over confidence that the outcome would be successful, but there was a superstition about pins and birth pain. 'For every pin a pain' and 'More pins, more pain' were traditional sayings, and some women would remove all the pins, no matter how elaborate the pattern.

Physical description

Layette pincushion of cream coloured velvet, edged with cream coloured silk fringing. The front is decorated with a border of coloured painted flowers and foliage (roses, wild roses, narcissi and scylla) with a cherub in grisaille (tones of grey) in each corner; in the centre is a verse picked out in pins. The pincushion has a plain back and is probably stuffed with sawdust.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)

Date

1838 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Painted velvet with pins

Marks and inscriptions

Angels guard thee lovely blossom/ Hover round and shield from ill/ Crown thy parent's (sic) largest wishes/ And their fondest hopes fulfil/ 1838

Dimensions

Height: 12.7 cm, Width: 17.8 cm

Object history note

Bought in a sale at Christie's (South Kensington) Ltd: £40 was bid for the Lot, which combined Misc.93 and.94-1985, so that each is notionally worth £20.

Descriptive line

Layette pincushion of painted velvet, stuck with pins to spell out a verse; made in the United Kingdom, 1838

Materials

Velvet; Pins

Techniques

Stitching; Painting

Subjects depicted

Scyllas (flowers); Narcissuses; Cherubs; Roses (wild roses); Roses

Categories

Birth; Children & Childhood

Collection

Museum of Childhood

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.