Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125b

Braces

1840-1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
During the 1840s and 1850s braces were generally made in two separate bands, with tabs and buttonholes. The wearer would pass the bands over the shoulder and attach them to buttons on his trousers.

Design & Designing
Braces were fashionable from 1787 onwards. At first they consisted of a pair of straps, often of morocco leather, passing over the shoulders and attached to a single button on each side in front and behind, to support the breeches. From 1825 a double-tongued design, whereby each strap was attached by two buttons in front and behind, began to be used. By 1850 the two straps were joined at the back, at the point where they crossed under the shoulder blades.

Materials & Making
Braces were often made of silk, cotton, canvas or velvet with leather attachments. The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine of 1860 reported 'Braces form a necessary adjunct to a gentleman's wardrobe and they are generally pleased to have them prettily worked.' From 1857 to 1866 many braces were embroidered in Berlin woolwork of many colours. They were often worked by young ladies and presented as gifts to their menfolk. India rubber braces were sometimes worn in the 1850s. During the second half of the century the brace made with plain elastic web and double sliding ends became the conventional mode.

People
R.S. Surtees, in his book Hillingdon Hall (1844), describes a particularly colourful man's outfit: 'The Marquis [threw] back his pea-green cashmere coat lined with silk, ... displaying his embroidered braces, pink rowing shirt and amber-coloured braces.'


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Braces
  • Braces
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered canvas, silk lining, suede, leather and metal
Brief Description
Pair of canvas braces, made in England, 1840-1850
Physical Description
Pair of braces consisting of two canvas strips. Down the centre of each there are embroidered sprays of red flowers with green leaves linked by yellow and blue scrolls in worsted tent stitch. The braces are lined with white and faced and backed with red silk. At one end is a button hole and at the other, a double pronged metal buckle attached to a tab with a beige leather loop. Through these loops a waxed thong is threaded, with suede loops with button holes on the ends.
Dimensions
  • Height: 81cm
  • Width: 6cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 13/05/1999 by LH
Gallery Label
British Galleries: BRACES
Braces held up trousers giving a firm, smooth line to the shape of the leg. Brightly patterned braces came into fashion during the 1840s and 1850s. Women often embroidered them at home as gifts for close friends and relatives. Braces joined at the back appeared in the second half of the century.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Mr A. H. Prior
Object history
Made in Britain
Summary
Object Type
During the 1840s and 1850s braces were generally made in two separate bands, with tabs and buttonholes. The wearer would pass the bands over the shoulder and attach them to buttons on his trousers.

Design & Designing
Braces were fashionable from 1787 onwards. At first they consisted of a pair of straps, often of morocco leather, passing over the shoulders and attached to a single button on each side in front and behind, to support the breeches. From 1825 a double-tongued design, whereby each strap was attached by two buttons in front and behind, began to be used. By 1850 the two straps were joined at the back, at the point where they crossed under the shoulder blades.

Materials & Making
Braces were often made of silk, cotton, canvas or velvet with leather attachments. The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine of 1860 reported 'Braces form a necessary adjunct to a gentleman's wardrobe and they are generally pleased to have them prettily worked.' From 1857 to 1866 many braces were embroidered in Berlin woolwork of many colours. They were often worked by young ladies and presented as gifts to their menfolk. India rubber braces were sometimes worn in the 1850s. During the second half of the century the brace made with plain elastic web and double sliding ends became the conventional mode.

People
R.S. Surtees, in his book Hillingdon Hall (1844), describes a particularly colourful man's outfit: 'The Marquis [threw] back his pea-green cashmere coat lined with silk, ... displaying his embroidered braces, pink rowing shirt and amber-coloured braces.'
Collection
Accession Number
T.91&A-1971

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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