Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1590-1610 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, black silk; hand-embroidered

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs M. E. Grubbe

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A stomacher was an essential accessory in women’s fashion in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It consisted of shaped piece of fabric, usually triangular, which filled in the gap between the fronts of a woman’s open gown. Stomachers were often richly embellished to contrast with the fabrics and decoration of the gown.

This stomacher is embroidered in a technique known as blackwork, worked with a single colour of silk, usually black, but also blue, red or green, on linen. Blackwork was particularly popular for dress accessories such as handkerchiefs, coifs, caps, shirts and smocks.

The pattern reflects the strapwork designs of the 16th century. The simple speckling may be a transition from the repeating geometrical stitches of the 16th century to the subtle speckling stitch of the 17th century, imitating the shading of woodblock prints. The shape of the stomacher corresponds with the long, pointed waistline fashionable during the period 1590 to 1610.

Physical description

A stomacher of linen embroidered with black silk thread in back and running stitches in a lattice of horizontal lozenges. Both the lattice and the lozenge ground bear small abstract floral sprigs. The ground of the lozenges is speckled in running stitch. The stomacher is straight at the top edge or neckline and pointed at the lower edge or waistline. It is unlined.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1590-1610 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, black silk; hand-embroidered


Length: 36.0 cm approx., Width: 24.0 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Woman's stomacher of linen, 1590-1610, British; embroidered with blackwork in a horizontal lozenge pattern with speckled ground


Accessories; Clothing; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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.