Not currently on display at the V&A

Purse

1600-1699 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Purses are also associated with the lighter side of life in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, in particular with gambling and cards, which was enjoyed by both men and women. Gaming purses were specifically functional. Made with a circular, stiffened base, the gathered sides were formed from a narrow circle of cloth such as velvet, which released to form an open container for coins or gaming chips. Many, like this one, were monogrammed to ensure that takings were claimed by their rightful owners.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Velvet, embroidered with metal thread
Brief description
embroidered velvet, 1600s, French; Crimson ground, metal embroidery, Coat of Arms
Physical description
Crimson velvet tasselled drawstring gamining bag, embroidered with silver and gold thread. Embroidered coat of arms on the base
Gallery label
These types of purses were used at the gaming table to hold money or counters. Playing and betting on card games was a popular pastime for the wealthy during the late 17th century. The sculptural shape and flat base of the bags prevented the contents from spilling or being revealed, while the coat of arms on the bottom identified the owner. V&A, Room 40, Bags: Inside Out. (12/2020)
Summary
Purses are also associated with the lighter side of life in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, in particular with gambling and cards, which was enjoyed by both men and women. Gaming purses were specifically functional. Made with a circular, stiffened base, the gathered sides were formed from a narrow circle of cloth such as velvet, which released to form an open container for coins or gaming chips. Many, like this one, were monogrammed to ensure that takings were claimed by their rightful owners.
Collection
Accession number
522-1869

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Record createdFebruary 25, 2003
Record URL
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