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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1770s (made)
    1780s (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, baleen, leather; hand-woven, hand-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs. Harrods

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Woman’s stays made of unbleached linen and baleen, the boning channels about 3/16-inch (4 mm) wide. They are lined with unbleached linen. The seams are covered with ⅜-inch (8 mm) wide linen tape and the edges of the skirts are bound with white leather.

The stays were probably made in the 1770s and X-ray images reveal that they were originally back opening. They were altered, probably in the 1780s to accommodate a shorter waistline and possibly for another wearer. They were cut down from the top, opened at the front where narrow panels were added, with 8 worked eyelets on the right side and 7 on the left. The top edge and armholes were rebound with white leather.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1770s (made)
1780s (altered)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, baleen, leather; hand-woven, hand-sewn


Length: 43.5 cm overall approx, Circumference: 81.7 cm bust under armholes approx

Object history note

Part of a large collection of costume items (T.391 to 1833-1913) given to the V&A by the London department store Harrods. "The greater part of the collection had been formed by Mr Talbot Hughes supplemented by more than 100 pieces which came into the market at the same time, and they were all bought en bloc by Messrs. Harrods, together with several further examples which came under Mr Hughes' notice. The whole collection was on view for 3 weeks in Messrs. Harrods' stores during the Christmas season, 1913." (from the original 1913 acquisition register)

Descriptive line

Woman's stays, probably 1770s, British; Unbleached linen, baleen, edged with leather, front-opening, altered 1780s


Linen (material); Baleen


Hand weaving; Hand sewing


Europeana Fashion Project; Womenswear; Underwear


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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