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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain

  • Date:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton and linen with mother of pearl buttons. Hand-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs. Valerie Mendes

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

White cotton shirt with high linen collar. The front of the shirt is fastened with four mother of pearl buttons. The collar is made of a finer material than the rest of the shirt as this part would have shown above the tie or cravat.

Place of Origin

Great Britain



Materials and Techniques

Cotton and linen with mother of pearl buttons. Hand-sewn


Length: 92 cm Centre back seam, neck to hem, Length: 89 cm Centre front seam, neck to hem, Length: 46 cm Sleeve, shoulder to cuff, Width: 70 cm Chest

Object history note

Given by Mrs Valerie Mendes

Historical significance: This shirt makes an interesting comparision to the more fashionable styles of the period. The shirt also shows how little the actual shape of men's underclothes had changed throughout the nineteenth century

Historical context note

This is probably a working man's shirt worn for best with a tie or cravat. It is likely that it was made at home. In the late 19th century most fashionable shirts were made by firms like Welch Margetson, Foster Porter & Co and McIntyre Hogg & Co. Cassell's Household Guide (1869-70, London, New York, Cassell, Petter and Galpin) reported:

'Shirt-making at home has fallen into disesteem, a result chiefly referable to two reasons. First, on the part of men, because home-made shirts are so ill cut as to be uncomfortable, untidy, and soon soiled; second, because the labour of shirt-making is close and unpleasant, and undoubtedly, trying to womankind…..

The supremacy of shop-made shirts, as they are called, have obtained over home-made, is due to the superiority of their cut. Home-made almost invariably 'bag', as the expressive term is, at the front or breast. This is because they are cut too wide at the breast.'


Cotton; Linen; Mother of pearl


Woven; Woven; Made


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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