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Falcon's hood

  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    early 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather tooled and gilded, with applied silk velvet embroidered with silver thread, and silk and silver braids and tuft

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Frank Ward

  • Museum number:

    T.244-1960

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 5, The Friends of the V&A Gallery, case CA11

Falconry is the use of trained birds of prey to hunt and catch wild animals. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when hunting for sport was an important aspect of court and aristocratic life and had a significant role in the power play between rulers and subjects, falconry was considered among the highest status of all hunting pursuits.

Hoods were used both as an aid to training the birds and to keep the trained falcons quiet and still while sitting on the falconer's glove. Most hoods have a plume on top of the crown which, as well as being decorative, can be used as a handle to help in the removal of the closely-fitting hood. The equipment used for hunting provided an opportunity for extravagant display, and this example is no exception, the leather embellished with gold tooling, silk velvet and highly skilled embroidery in silver thread.

Physical description

Falcon's hood made of leather panels stitched together and tooled with gold. The side panels have applied crimson silk velvet embroidered with silver thread and purl in laid and couched work with in a floral design. There is an opening at the front for the bird's beak. Two braids of crimson silk and silver thread with knots and tassels are threaded through the back of the hood. Sticking up loosely through a hole in the top of the hood is an upright tuft of crimson silk and a metal thread wound on a wooden core.

The initials 'E B' are marked twice into the leather at the back of the hood, with the initial 'F' below, marked in a slightly different form.

There is a round paper label inside, hand written in ink with 'lot 164 old English hawk's hood used in hawking very rare'.

Place of Origin

England (possibly, made)

Date

early 17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Leather tooled and gilded, with applied silk velvet embroidered with silver thread, and silk and silver braids and tuft

Marks and inscriptions

'E B / F'
Impressed twice into the leather

'lot 164 old English hawk's hood used in hawking very rare'
Written in ink on a round paper label, inside

Dimensions

Height: 15 cm with tuft, Width: 7 cm, Depth: 10 cm

Object history note

Frank Ward was a collector of 17th century embroideries, among other works of art, which he bequeathed to the V&A.

When the hood was acquired it was speculated that EB might stand for Edward Bergavenny, who was grand falconer to Queen Elizabeth I. There is no evidence to support this.

Descriptive line

Falcon's hood made of leather, possibly made in England, early 17th century

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

Illustrated in The Connoisseur, Vol LXXIII, p.162

Production Note

This type of falcon's hood and method of decoration would have been similar in other European countries. The hood's English provenance suggests this as the country of origin in the first place.

Materials

Leather; Velvet

Techniques

Embroidery; Tooling

Categories

Hunting; Embroidery; Leather; Textiles; Accessories; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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