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Forehead cloth

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1575-1625 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered linen with coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt threads, spangles, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Frank Ward

  • Museum number:

    T.243-1960

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A forehead cloth was part of women's headwear in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It was usually worn with a coif and inventories from the period record matching coifs and forehead clothes being made and bought together. However, it is still unclear just how the forehead cloth was worn, as there are very few portraits illustrating both.

This forehead cloth is richly embroidered with precious metal threads and probably once had a matching coif. The repeating pattern of flowers and fruits is typical of the naturalistic embroidery designs of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Physical description

Woman's forehead cloth of embroidered linen with coloured silks in shades of red, pink, blue and green in detached buttonhole stitch and couching, and silver and silver-gilt threads in plaited braid stitch and couching. The ground is powdered with silver-gilt spangles. The pattern consists of scrolling stems bearing foxglove, pansy, a rose, borage, grapes, strawberries, berries and acorns. The triangular shape is outlined with stem stitch in red silk. The raw edge has been turned once and tacked with linen thread. Unlined.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1575-1625 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered linen with coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt threads, spangles, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

Dimensions

Width: 33 cm overall approx., Length: 15 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Woman's forehead cloth of embroidered linen with coloured silks and metal threads, England, 1575-1625

Subjects depicted

Foxglove; Rose; Acorn; Strawberry; Pansy; Borage; Grapes

Categories

Women's clothes; Embroidery; Hats & headwear; Textiles; Accessories; Fashion

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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