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Garter star

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, embroidered)

  • Date:

    1627-1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered with silver thread, strip and wire and silk appliqué

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 10

Object Type
This form of the Order of the Garter (the highest order of English knighthood) as a star was introduced by Charles I (ruled 1625-1649) in 1627. It was to be worn by Knights of the Garter 'upon the left part of their cloaks, coats and riding cassocks, at all times when they shall not wear their robes, and in all places and assemblies...a testimony to the World, of the honour they hold...the Order Instituted and Ordained for persons of the highest honour and greatest worth'.

Materials & Making
This type of ceremonial embroidery was carried out in professional workshops in London. One of the workshops was run by Edmund Harrison, who held the appointment of King's Embroiderer. In 1633-1634 he supplied 34 'rich orders set upon clokes [cloaks] and coates'. These varied in quality and materials. One that he supplied to the Master of the Robes was 'of blue velvet set with diamonds'.

We do not know to whom this star of the Order of the Garter belonged. It has been associated since at least the 19th century with a gift from Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662), sister of Charles I. Such a badge can still be seen in place on the wedding suit of Charles's son James, later James II (ruled 1685-1688), which is also in the V&A.

Physical description

Garter star

Place of Origin

London (probably, embroidered)


1627-1700 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered with silver thread, strip and wire and silk appliqué


Height: 28.5 cm, Width: 28.5 cm

Object history note

Probably embroidered in London

Descriptive line

Garter star, embroidered, 1600s, English

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The Order of the Garter, founded on St George's day in about 1348, is still Britain's highest order of chivalry. Charles I promoted this ancient order and introduced an embroidered star to be worn in public by Knights of the Garter on their cloaks. This star is embroidered with silver thread, but gold and even diamonds were also used. The badge was first introduced by Henry VIII and was worn on a blue riband or sash. It is known as the Lesser George and replaced the official Great George for everyday use. [27/03/2003]


Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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