Waistcoat thumbnail 1
Waistcoat thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 54

Waistcoat

1710-1720 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Waistcoats were part of the three-piece ensemble that made up men's dress in the 18th century. At the beginning of the 18th entury, waistcoats often had sleeves and were usually as long as the coat that was worn over them. This example is unusual in that the silk has been used for the back as well as the front. Normally, the expensive, decorative fabrics were reserved only for the front. Waistcoat backs were usually made of fustian (a blend of cotton or linen) or some cheaper fabric, since the back was never seen in public.

Materials & Making
The waistcoat is hand-sewn and lined with fustian. The buttonholes are sewn with silver thread.

Ownership & Use
The monochrome colour, simplicity of weave and scant use of metal thread indicate that the waistcoat was intended for informal wear. It would not have been worn at court or to formal public events.

Designs & Designing
The silk is a damask weave in a large pattern of trailing leaves and abstract geometrical shapes. (Damask is a type of weave whose effect depends on the differing play of light on its pattern surfaces, which alternate between the smooth face and the contrasting reverse of satin weave.) It is similar to patterns designed for damask by the silk designer James Leman in 1708. These patterns by Leman and other designers are known as 'bizarre silks'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk damask lined with fustian and silk
Brief Description
Man's sleeved waistcoat of silk damask lined with fustian and silk, England, 1710-1720
Physical Description
Man's sleeved waistcoat of white silk damask, lined with fustian and silk. The buttonholes are sewn with silver thread.
Dimensions
  • Neck to hem length: 89cm
  • Maximum width: 96cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 25/08/2000 by NH/SN mounted measurements taken by NH 21/11/2000
Gallery Label
British Galleries: A gentleman wore this waistcoat informally during the day, with a plain coat and breeches. The coat would have been left open to display the fashionably patterned silk (see photograph), with the waistcoat buttoned at the waist to show off his shirt and ruffles.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Made in England
Summary
Object Type
Waistcoats were part of the three-piece ensemble that made up men's dress in the 18th century. At the beginning of the 18th entury, waistcoats often had sleeves and were usually as long as the coat that was worn over them. This example is unusual in that the silk has been used for the back as well as the front. Normally, the expensive, decorative fabrics were reserved only for the front. Waistcoat backs were usually made of fustian (a blend of cotton or linen) or some cheaper fabric, since the back was never seen in public.

Materials & Making
The waistcoat is hand-sewn and lined with fustian. The buttonholes are sewn with silver thread.

Ownership & Use
The monochrome colour, simplicity of weave and scant use of metal thread indicate that the waistcoat was intended for informal wear. It would not have been worn at court or to formal public events.

Designs & Designing
The silk is a damask weave in a large pattern of trailing leaves and abstract geometrical shapes. (Damask is a type of weave whose effect depends on the differing play of light on its pattern surfaces, which alternate between the smooth face and the contrasting reverse of satin weave.) It is similar to patterns designed for damask by the silk designer James Leman in 1708. These patterns by Leman and other designers are known as 'bizarre silks'.
Collection
Accession Number
T.200-1984

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL