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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1712 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, embroidered with wool, buttonhole stitches, french knots, blanket stitch

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lord Cowdray

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Capacious work-bags were an important domestic accessory in the eighteenth century, and their decoration and scale reflected changing fashions in needlework, although their form, two squares of fabric seamed at the base and sides and closing with a simple drawstring, remained plain. Work-bags tended to be large to contain the substantial hanks of coloured worsted wool used for crewelwork, and made of linen or cotton. Many were embroidered with crewelwork, typically with twisting Tree of Life patterns, complete with foliage and birds.

Physical description

Embroidered workbag of linen and cotton twill, lined with linen and embroidered with polychrome worsted wools in chain, stem, cross and buttonhole stitches with French knots and fancy fillings. The edges are worked with blanket stitch and at the top are a series of large buttonholes, through which is run a draw-string of plaited wool.
Both sides of the bag are decorated with a flowering plant, growing from a mound; the curving stems bear carnations, pomegranates, daffodils and exotic flowers. Round the edges are serpentine lines enclosing sprigs of flowers.
At the top, on one side of the bag, are the initials 'W' and 'G' and the date '1712'. Unlike the rest of the embroidery, these have been worked through the lining and may have been added at a later date, although the wool matches that used in working the pattern.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1712 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, embroidered with wool, buttonhole stitches, french knots, blanket stitch

Marks and inscriptions

'W' and 'G', '1712'
Embroidered at top of bag.


Length: 26.25 in, Width: 19.25 in

Descriptive line

Embroidered work bag, England, 1712.


Linen; Wool


Embroidery; Accessories; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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