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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1590-1630 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, hand-sewn and embroidered with silk, silver and silver-gilt threads

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This simple unlined jacket represents an informal style of clothing worn by women in the early 17th century. Unlike more fitted waistcoats, this loose, unshaped jacket may have been worn during pregnancy. A repeating pattern of curving scrolls covers the linen from which spring sweet peas, oak leaves, acorns, columbine, lilies, pansies, borage,hawthorn, strawberries and honeysuckle embroidered in coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt threads. The embroidery stitches include chain, stem, satin, dot and double-plait stitch, as well as knots and couching of the metal threads. Sleeves and sides are embroidered together with an insertion stitch in two shades of green instead of a conventionally sewn seam.

Although exquisitely worked, this jacket is crudely cut from a single layer of linen, indicating the work of a seamstress or embroiderer, someone without a tailor's training. It has no cuffs, collar or lining, and the sleeves are cut in one piece. The jacket was later altered to fit a thinner person. The sleeves were taken off, the armholes re-shaped, the sides cut down, and the sleeves set in again.

Physical description

Unlined linen jacket, embroidered with silk, silver and silver-gilt filé, in a pattern of acorns, hawthorn, lilies, roses, pansy, columbine, honeysuckle, sweet peas, borage and strawberries. These are worked in detached buttonhole, chain, satin, stem and dot stitches and knots. The seams were originally joined with an embroidered insertion stitch. The jacket has been altered at the shoulder to fit another wearer. The pale blue silk ribbon fastenings are modern reproductions.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1590-1630 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, hand-sewn and embroidered with silk, silver and silver-gilt threads


Length: 66.5 cm neck to hem

Object history note

Purchased from A Solomon for £8 in 1873.

Descriptive line

Woman's jacket, 1590-1630, English; embroidered with silk and metal threads, in flowers and fruit

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

John Lea Nevinson, Catalogue of English Domestic Embroidery of the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles, London: HMSO, 1938, p.70, plate LIV
Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the 17th and 18th centuries, V&A Publications, 1998, p.24 & 25
p.44, plate 35
Hearn, Karen (ed.), Marcus Gheeraerts II : Elizabethan artist, London : Tate Publishing, 2002
Braun, Melanie, 'Embroidered Linen Jacket', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns, vol.2, London: V&A Publishing, 2012, pp.48-57


Linen; Silk thread


Hand sewing; Hand embroidery

Subjects depicted

Acorn; Lily; Strawberry; Honeysuckle; Hawthorn; Sweet pea; Borage; Pansy; Columbine; Rose


Textiles; Embroidery; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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