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Norfolk jacket

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1890-1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tweed with sateen and cotton lining, horn, hand- and machine-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Martin Kamer

  • Museum number:

    T.356&A-1984

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 3 []

Object Type
The Norfolk jacket was a versatile garment which became an important item in a gentleman's wardrobe. It was originally worn by the Rifle Corps in the Volunteer Movement of 1859-1860 and was adapted for shooting costume during the 1860s. It was initially known as the 'Norfolk shirt' and was at first strictly reserved for country wear.

Ownership & Use
With the growth in leisure activities and sporting pursuits during the 1870s and 1880s the Norfolk jacket became acceptable for any form of outdoor exercise, 'being especially suited for bicycling, business, fishing, pleasuring, and the moorland' (Tailor and Cutter, April 1888). Golfing attire was particularly colourful, as this extract from Golf by Horace Hutchinson suggests: In the matter of Norfolk jackets and knickerbockers, spats and particularly coloured stockings, checks and stripes, the golfer is a bird of bright and varied plumage.'

This example was probably worn for general country wear. Inside one of the pockets are a piece of paper giving the monthly rainfall for the year 1900, a stamp, metal pin and a piece of string. By the 1890s conventions had become so relaxed that smart young men were seen wearing Norfolk jackets even in the city.

Materials & Making
The Norfolk jacket was often made of Harris tweed and homespuns. It was frequently teamed up with matching knickerbockers and a soft cap such as a deerstalker. Its distinctive features were a box pleat at the centre back and another passing down each forepart. It also had a belt made of the same material. Women wore close-fitting versions of the jacket for sports, country wear and even fashionable dress. The jacket also appears in illustrations for the dress of young boys from 1859 onwards.

Physical description

Man's Norfolk jacket made of thick grey checked tweed and a neck piece. There are 14 horn buttons altogether - six large and eight small.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1890-1900 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Tweed with sateen and cotton lining, horn, hand- and machine-sewn

Dimensions

Length: 78 cm, Width: 48 cm shoulders, Height: 1500 mm mounted approx, Width: 800 mm mounted approx, Depth: 500 mm mounted approx

Object history note

Made in Britain

Descriptive line

Norfolk jacket

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Norfolk jackets were worn by men who enjoyed outdoor pursuits. This warm, belted jacket proved ideal for the popular leisure activities of the 1890s. It could be worn for walking, cycling, fishing, shooting and golf, or even for an informal stroll. [27/03/2003]

Categories

Fashion; Men's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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