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Coif

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1600-1629 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, silk thread, silver, ink; printed and hand-embroidered

  • Museum number:

    T.21-1946

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This coif illustrates how many embroidery patterns were applied to linen. From the 16th century the publication of embroidery pattern books published spread new and fashionable designs throughout Europe. These could be transferred onto linen by pricking holes along the outlines, pouncing (dusting with fine black powder), then joining the dots with a fine brush and black ink. Professional embroiderers and artists were sometimes hired to draw new patterns freehand.

By the early 17th century, embroidery designs were being printed directly onto linen, as seen in this example. Although almost all worn away now, the remnants of speckling stitch in black silk, silver thread and spangles can still be seen outlining the printed design.

Physical description

A coif of linen printed in black ink in a design of sprouting plants including roses, strawberries, carnations, raspberries, grapes, columbine and honeysuckle. These are interspersed with birds, a monkey, leopard, lion, rabbit, squirrel, moth, snake caterpillars, beetles and bees. This printed design is identical with that of another piece of printed linen, T.74-1931. The design has been embroidered with black silk thread in speckling stitch couched over with silver spangles and white silk thread wrapped with silver strip, almost all of which is now worn away. The coif has cheek pieces and a widow's peak; the top seam and crown were later unpicked for flat display.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1600-1629 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Linen, silk thread, silver, ink; printed and hand-embroidered

Dimensions

Width: 40.3 cm overall, approx, Length: 25.5 cm overall, approx

Descriptive line

A woman's coif of linen, 1600-1629, British; printed and embroidered in silver thread, flowers, fruits, animals, insects

Subjects depicted

Roses; Moth; Beetle; Honeysuckle; Snail; Caterpillar; Strawberries; Lion; Monkey; Cornflower; Grapes; Leopard; Squirrel; Carnations; Rabbit

Categories

Clothing; Fashion; Hats & headwear; Embroidery; Prints; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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