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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1605-1615 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, silk thread; 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, with a single colour of silk, usually black, but also sometimes 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. However, the shape of the stomacher corresponds with fashions of the period 1605 to 1610.

Physical description

A stomacher of linen embroidered with black silk in back and running stitches. The pattern consists of a diamond-shaped trellis filled with honeysuckle and lilies, with a fleur-de-lys over each intersection. The motifs are outlined, but not filled; the background is speckled with running stitch. At the top the neckline edged is slightly scooped. The bottom or waistline edge is straight. Each edge at the side is turned and hemmed. The stomacher is unlined.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1605-1615 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, silk thread; hand-embroidered


Length: 28.0 cm approx., Width: 25.0 cm approx.

Descriptive line

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

Subjects depicted

Fleur de lys


Clothing; Embroidery; Accessories; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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