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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1635-1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, baleen; hand-woven, hand-sewn, hand-embroidered

  • 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

Man’s doublet of bleached, glazed linen, lined with bleached linen. It has a 2⅜-inch (6 cm) standing collar and curving 2-piece sleeves. The centre back seam is open below the collar and above the waist seam, as is the inside sleeve from shoulder to 2 ½ inches (6.3 cm) above the wrist. There are 4 large deep laps sewn to the waist seam at the sides and back. Each front and front lap is cut in one piece. The doublet is embroidered in back stitch with white linen thread in a pattern of interlocking hearts. A pattern of pomegranates, couched in linen cord and embroidered with French knots runs around the front edges, the laps and the inside sleeves seams. A ⅜-inch (8 mm) wide linen bobbin lace edges the armholes, fronts, laps, wrists and sleeve openings. Small belly pieces, possibly of baleen and linen, reinforce each front. There are 4 buttonholes on each sleeve and 16 on the left front with 5 button loops of linen cord on the collar. The buttons are a wooden core covered with linen thread; all 29 remain. There is a lacing band of linen at the inside waist, worked with 30 eyelets.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1635-1640 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, baleen; hand-woven, hand-sewn, hand-embroidered

Marks and inscriptions

Sir C. Isham. Bart.
Hand-written in black ink on parchment label inside collar at the back


Length: 68.5 cm overall approx, Circumference: 85.0 cm chest under armholes approx

Object history note

Acquired with the Isham Collection.

Descriptive line

Man's doublet, 1635-40, English, glazed linen, embroidered and couched with white cord, trimmed with bobbin lace

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]


Linen (material); Baleen


Hand weaving; Hand sewing; Hand embroidery


Clothing; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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