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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Cap

1600-1625 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This nightcap is a typical example of informal headwear for a wealthy man. Although only worn in the privacy of home, it is a luxurious garment.

Covering the head for both men and women was an important sartorial custom in Western Europe up until 1960s. From a health perspective, head coverings were considered necessary to protect against chills and disease. In literature and paintings, to be bareheaded often signified emotional distress or even insanity.

The use of the adjective 'night' in describing various types of informal garments, as in nightcap or nightgown, is sometimes confusing. It refers to 'night clothes', that is, informal clothing worn in the evening, after the formal public attire of the day, rather than to garments that were actually worn in bed.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered linen with silver and silver-gilt threads, edged with silver and silver-gilt bobbin lace, spangles
Brief Description
Man's cap of embroidered linen with silver and silver-gilt thread and lace, England, 1600-1625
Physical Description
Cap of embroidered linen with silver and silver-gilt thread in double ladder, interlaced, detached buttonhole and plaited braid stitches. Design of coiling gold stems with flowers and insects in gold and silver. Turned-up brim edged with silver and silver-gilt bobbin lace, and with spangles attached.
Dimensions
  • Height: 19cm
  • Height: 7.5in
  • Width: 10in (maximum)
  • Diameter: 16.5cm (Dimension when mounted)
  • Height: 165mm
  • Width: 165mm
  • Depth: 165mm
Gallery Label
  • Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars label text: Nightcap and coif About 1610; 1600 Men wore nightcaps when relaxing at home, in contrast to more formal headwear worn for public business during the day. The informal head covering for women was the coif. For the wealthy, these could be highly decorated with expensive metal thread and are of great beauty. England Nightcap: linen, embroidered in silver and gilded silver thread, with metal bobbin lace Coif: linen, embroidered in silver and gilded silver thread, spangles and pearls, with metal bobbin lace Coif bequeathed by Frank Ward V&A T.75-1954, 239-1960
Object history
The RF number is 1954/1919.



The cap was displayed in 'Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars' from 9 March – 14 July 2013.

Summary
This nightcap is a typical example of informal headwear for a wealthy man. Although only worn in the privacy of home, it is a luxurious garment.



Covering the head for both men and women was an important sartorial custom in Western Europe up until 1960s. From a health perspective, head coverings were considered necessary to protect against chills and disease. In literature and paintings, to be bareheaded often signified emotional distress or even insanity.



The use of the adjective 'night' in describing various types of informal garments, as in nightcap or nightgown, is sometimes confusing. It refers to 'night clothes', that is, informal clothing worn in the evening, after the formal public attire of the day, rather than to garments that were actually worn in bed.
Collection
Accession Number
T.75-1954

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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