Shirt thumbnail 1
Shirt thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Shirt

ca. 1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Shirts enabled men show off their taste and wealth, particularly if they were decorated with fine embroidery. The low cut waistcoats of the 1850s meant that the patterns on the front panel were often visible.

Historical Associations
This shirt was exhibited in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Class XX 'Articles of Clothing, for Immediate Practical or Domestic Use'. The 'Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue' (page 578, No. 22) describes it as a 'shirt of peculiar construction....exhibiting specimens of English embroidery'. In the 'Reports by the Juries on 30 classes' it is stated that the manufacturers Wheeler & Ablett were given 'Honourable Mention' for 'a shirt, elaborately embroidered and very well made'.

Materials & Making
The embroidery is extremely fine and the design is similar to continental whitework embroidery of around the same date. The two sides of the front panel of the shirt are embroidered with symmetrical designs incorporating a church, a woman holding a parasol and a man holding a stick, all surrounded by flowers and foliage. The figures of the man and woman in front of a church suggest that this shirt may be connected with a wedding.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Box
  • Shirt
  • Scarf
Materials and Techniques
embroidered cotton
Brief Description
Man's whitework shirt with exhibition box
Physical Description
Hand embroidered shirt in display box
Gallery Label
British Galleries: MEDAL-WINNING SHIRT
Dress shirts of this period were often enriched with fine embroidery. The official catalogue of the Exhibition described this as a shirt of peculiar construction. This may refer to the holes for the studs, a relatively new invention. The company that made this shirt was awarded a bronze medal in it's class.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Messrs Wheeler Ltd.
Object history
Made by the firm of Wheeler & Ablett, Manufacturers, London
Summary
Object Type
Shirts enabled men show off their taste and wealth, particularly if they were decorated with fine embroidery. The low cut waistcoats of the 1850s meant that the patterns on the front panel were often visible.

Historical Associations
This shirt was exhibited in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Class XX 'Articles of Clothing, for Immediate Practical or Domestic Use'. The 'Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue' (page 578, No. 22) describes it as a 'shirt of peculiar construction....exhibiting specimens of English embroidery'. In the 'Reports by the Juries on 30 classes' it is stated that the manufacturers Wheeler & Ablett were given 'Honourable Mention' for 'a shirt, elaborately embroidered and very well made'.

Materials & Making
The embroidery is extremely fine and the design is similar to continental whitework embroidery of around the same date. The two sides of the front panel of the shirt are embroidered with symmetrical designs incorporating a church, a woman holding a parasol and a man holding a stick, all surrounded by flowers and foliage. The figures of the man and woman in front of a church suggest that this shirt may be connected with a wedding.
Collection
Accession Number
T.47&A&C-1952

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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