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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1635-1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed linen, embroidered with linen thread

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
Doublets formed part of the ensemble of clothing worn by men in the early 17th century. A pair of breeches in matching fabric would have been worn with this doublet, with a cape to complete the gentleman's outfit.

Materials & Making
The linen has not been dyed but bleached and glazed instead to give a uniform colour and a firm texture on which to embroider. Back stitch, French knots and couching in fine linen thread comprise a pattern of geometric and floral motifs. Linen thread, hand plaited and sewn over a wooden core in a technique known as passementerie, forms the decorative buttons.

A doublet of the late 1630s had a waistline at the natural level with large flaps or tabs, as they were known, falling below. Typical of the period, are the back seam and seams of the sleeves. They have been deliberately left unstitched to allow the billowing shirt to show through from underneath. Fashions of the 1630s featured a high collar over which the falling band of fine linen and lace could drape becomingly.

Physical description

Linen on linen, in couched work and French knots, the ground quilted in back stitch. All edges have a narrow highly conventionalized wavy stem border, and an inner row of stylized pomegranates in couched work. The whole of the ground is quilted with an elaborate lozenge diaper with hearts set in pairs.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1635-1640 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Glazed linen, embroidered with linen thread

Marks and inscriptions

'Sir C. Isham. Bart.'
On label inside collar


Width: 71.12 cm maximum, elbow to elbow, Depth: 44.5 cm maximum

Object history note

Acquired with the Isham Collection.

Descriptive line

Man's doublet, glazed linen embroidered with linen thread, England, 1635 - 1640

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.81

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Linen was normally used for linings or underwear. However, the elaborate embroidery and buttons on this doublet indicate that it was formal dress. The light colour of the fabric suggests summer wear. The seams on each sleeve and at the back were left open to let the shirt show through. [27/03/2003]






Clothing; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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