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Pair of sleeve panels

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1615-1625 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, hand-embroidered with silk, silver and silver-gilt threads, applied spangles

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These sleeve panels were meant to be worn under a gown or bodice with open sleeves. When worn with a partlet, they gave the impression of a lavishly decorated smock or waistcoat under the bodice of the gown, but required a considerably smaller amount of expensive embroidery. In addition, a partlet and sleeve panels would have been less bulkly and more comfortable to wear than a whole waistcoat, under a tight-fitting gown.

The pattern of scrolling stems bearing a strawberries, rose hips, borage, cornflowers and caterpillars is characteristic of the embroidery found on dress accessories in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The design is very similar to that of a partlet, T.13-1956

Physical description

A pair of sleeve panels made of of rectangular linen panels worked with oval panels of embroidery to show through the open sleeve of a gown. Embroidered with coloured silks in shades of red, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple and black in chain and detached buttonhole stitch, and silver and silver-gilt threads in double-plait and stem stitches.

The pattern consists of scrolling stems bearing rows of pansies and strawberries, repeating with rose hips, cornflower and centipedes, and borage and foxglove; the whole powdered with silver spangles. Each panel is oval in shape with squared off ends, and outlined in stem stitch in yellow silk. The panels are unlined. The thread count is 80 x 80 threads per inch, approximately. Similar in design to partlet, T.13-1956.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1615-1625 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, hand-embroidered with silk, silver and silver-gilt threads, applied spangles

Marks and inscriptions

'S.W.R.1 National Exhibition of Needlework'
On a label

Object history note

Purchased at auction in 1980 from the collection of Sir William Randle Wilbraham, Bart.

Descriptive line

Pair of linen sleeve panels, embroidered with silk and metal threads, England, 1615-25

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

Wingfield Digby, George, Elizabethan Embroidery, London: Faber & Faber, 1963, plate 29
Nevinson, John Lea, 'English Embroidered Costume, Elizabeth and James I--Part I', Connoisseur, XCVII, January 1936, p.25, plate #v
Tiramani, Jenny, 'Embroidered Linen Partlet and Sleeve Panels', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns, vol.1, London: V&A Publishing, 2011, pp.136-141


Linen; Silk thread; Silver thread; Silver-gilt thread; Spangle


Hand embroidery

Subjects depicted

Rose hip; Borage; Pansy; Strawberry; Foxglove; Cornflower


Accessories; Women's clothes; Fashion; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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