Waistcoat thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 122d

Waistcoat

ca. 1839 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
By the 1830s most of the colour in men's dress came from the waistcoat. During the 1830s waistcoats, printed or woven to imitate shawl patterns, were popular. Polychrome effects were also fashionable although the colours would never have been discordant. In 1832 Beau Brummel was described as wearing a cashmere waistcoat made from a shawl.

Historical Associations
A handwritten label is pinned to the waistcoat which reads: 'This waistcoat was given by Sir Douglas Seton Stewart to Emma Lady Seton ....(and) was one made for the Eglinton Tournament'. The pattern repeat incorporating flags, a pavilion-style tent and mounted knights charging with lances suggests that it has associations with the event and 19th-century chivalry. The motifs are very similar to those seen on prints depicting the Eglinton Tournament.

Trading
It is unlikely that the fabric was especially commissioned for this garment. It would have been very expensive for someone to do this. Moreover the width of the repeat (which spans more than half of the front of the waistcoat) means that a proportion of the design is lost in the side seams.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Woven in wool, lined in cotton, hand-stitched
Brief Description
Waistcoat made from woven wool, Great Britain, ca. 1839
Physical Description
Waistcoat made from white wool with a woven design in blue, black, yellow, red and green of intersecting bands of formal flags, including the Union Jack, and trophies forming diamond motifs in which are small figures of mounted knights in armour and charging with lances, and trophies arranged around a pavilion.



The waistcoat is waist length with a slight peak at the front. It is double-breasted and has eight self covered buttons with an additional button on the left breast. There is a collar with narrow rounded lapels and there are horizontal welted pockets. The back is of white cotton and it has been pieced from half way down. There are two sets of tape ties for adjustment. Lined with cotton.



Once pinned to the waistcoat was a handwritten label with 'This waistcoat given by Sir Douglas Seton Stewart to Emma, Lady Seton ... was one made for the Eglinton Tournament in 18.. ? [unclear]. The small evening bodice about the same date also given as above And the red (man's) waistcoat'.
Dimensions
  • Length: 63.5cm
  • Width: 43.5cm (maximum)
  • Mounted height: 160cm (maximum)
  • Mounted width: 45cm (maximum)
  • Mounted depth: 36cm (maximum)
Dimensions checked: Measured; 19/04/2000 by LPratt Display dimensions of torso made by Gary Hall, April 2000
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This waistcoat was made from cloth sold to commemorate the Eglinton Tournament. A Glasgow newspaper described shops selling a variety of souvenirs: 'Some have tournament tartans, buttons, cloaks, turbans, scarves, head-dresses, and shawls for sale; others have bonnets and dress-shirts for the occasion'.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Egidia Haynes
Object history
Woven and made up in Britain
Summary
Object Type
By the 1830s most of the colour in men's dress came from the waistcoat. During the 1830s waistcoats, printed or woven to imitate shawl patterns, were popular. Polychrome effects were also fashionable although the colours would never have been discordant. In 1832 Beau Brummel was described as wearing a cashmere waistcoat made from a shawl.

Historical Associations
A handwritten label is pinned to the waistcoat which reads: 'This waistcoat was given by Sir Douglas Seton Stewart to Emma Lady Seton ....(and) was one made for the Eglinton Tournament'. The pattern repeat incorporating flags, a pavilion-style tent and mounted knights charging with lances suggests that it has associations with the event and 19th-century chivalry. The motifs are very similar to those seen on prints depicting the Eglinton Tournament.

Trading
It is unlikely that the fabric was especially commissioned for this garment. It would have been very expensive for someone to do this. Moreover the width of the repeat (which spans more than half of the front of the waistcoat) means that a proportion of the design is lost in the side seams.
Collection
Accession Number
T.129-1969

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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