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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pope & Plante (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Machine-knitted silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
Stockings were essential items in everyone's wardrobe. The desire to mass-produce knitted hose spurred technological development, starting with the invention of the stocking frame in the late 16th century and the circular frame in the early 19th century.

Designs & Designing
This stocking features two colours of silk, a black leg and foot with a white toe and welt. The addition of 'clocks' (patterns worked at the ankle) and decorative patterning in women's stockings was typical in the 19th century.

The inclusion of the manufacturer's name and motto in the knitted pattern were special additions for the purpose of the exhibition. Normally the manufacturer was indicated by maker's marks or initials.

Historical Associations
According to the Great Exhibition Jury Report, there were 50,000 stocking frames in the hosiery trade alone, producing over œ3 million pounds worth of goods annually. However, the Jury noted that Britain was lagging behind the United States and Germany in the application of steam power to the stocking frame. Encouraged and abetted by the reports of the Great Exhibition, British inventors began developing the next generation of knitting machinery, which came to fruition in the second half of the 19th century.

Physical description

Stocking of black and white machine-knitted silk. The main part of the stocking is black with the toe and top in white. The black part of the stocking is knitted in a fancy rib and there is a plain foot. It is shaped to the calf, but not fashioned. There is a seam at the bottom of the foot and the toe, which is squared off and fashioned, and the heel is knitted in heavier quality silk. Knitted into the white silk welt is a series of openwork triangles and below them are knitted the words 'POPE & PLANTE 1851 BY INDUSTRY WE THRIVE' with decorative filling.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1851 (made)


Pope & Plante (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Machine-knitted silk

Marks and inscriptions

AP 421 (2)
Marked on an attached paper label


Height: 72 cm maximum, Width: 20 cm

Object history note

Made by Pope & Plante, London

Descriptive line

Machine-knitted silk stocking, made by Pope & Plante, London, 1851

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The exhibiting hosiery companies offered a range of patterns, both in colours and stitches. Some entries were concerned with technological innovation, others demonstrated new fashions in design. These examples were especially knitted to include the exhibition date and appropriate mottoes. [27/03/2003]


Women's clothes; Underwear; Textiles; The Great Exhibition; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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