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Panel of jacket fronts

Panel of jacket fronts

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1619-1625 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pierrepont, Mary (embroiderers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, silk thread; hand-embroidered in blackwork

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These panels of unfinished blackwork shows how embroidered garments were made in the early 17th century. The shapes for two jacket fronts and two sleeves has been drawn in pen and ink on linen, with the design for their embroidery. The linen would have been secured in a frame to hold it taut while the embroidery was done. Once completed, the shapes would have been cut out by a tailor and sewn together. The very short waist of the jacket fronts and close-fitting shape of the sleeves suggest a date between 1619 and 1625.

Blackwork was a style of needlework popular in England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It was worked with a single colour of silk, usually black, as on this panel, but also sometimes blue, red or green, on linen. The pattern of flowers, birds and insects is characteristic of embroidery of this period, inspired by herbals and other popular books on the natural world. The style of embroidery uses speckling stitch, comprised of tiny running stitches arranged to give a shaded effect. Blackwork in speckling stitch imitates the graphic method used in woodblock prints to create three-dimensional shapes.

Physical description

Two panels of linen, one with two jacket fronts drawn on it in pen and ink, each with a pattern of scrolling stems bearing tulips, acorns, pansies and roses, with birds and insects, in blackwork speckling stitch. The other panel bears two upper sleeve shapes and two under sleeve shapes embroidered in the same design.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1619-1625 (made)


Pierrepont, Mary (embroiderers)

Materials and Techniques

Linen, silk thread; hand-embroidered in blackwork

Object history note

Said to have been worked by Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Pierrepont (sister of the Earl of Kingston), who married Fulk Cartwright of Ossington in 1606.

Purchased. Registered File number 3721-1902. For report by Mr Walter Crane, see RP. 1421/1902, 80090/1902.

Descriptive line

Panel of fronts for a woman's linen jacket, 1619-1620, British; embroidered in blackwork, uncut

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

Nevinson, John Lea, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.80
Patterson, Angus, Fashion and Armour in Renaissance Europe: Proud Lookes and Brave Attire, V&A Publishing, London, 2009, ISBN 9781851775811, p. 55, ill.


Linen (material); Silk thread



Subjects depicted

Bird; Tulip; Pansy; Moth; Ant; Acorns


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


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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