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Doll's shirt

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1690-1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen trimmed with bobbin lace and embroidered

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased by public subscription

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
This shirt was made for a doll, known as Lord Clapham, that is thought to have belonged to the Cockerell family, descendants of the diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). The daughter of Pepys's nephew John Jackson (the son of his sister Pauline) married a Cockerell, who had a family home in Clapham, south London.

Designs & Designing
Lord Clapham offers a fine example of both formal and informal dress for a gentleman in the 1690s. His formal outfit includes a coat, waistcoat and breeches, while his informal dress is represented by the nightgown. Accessories such as the stockings, stock (a form of stiff, close-fitting neckcloth) and gloves are very valuable since very few items from this early period survive in museum collections. Equally important is the demonstration of how these clothes were worn together.

Ownership & Use
Dolls were widely produced in the 17th century, although very few survive, due to the wear and tear they usually undergo. The high quality of Lord Clapham and his clothes indicates that he would have been expensive. There is little evidence of use, which suggests that he was admired by adults rather than played with by children.

Physical description

Doll's shirt made of fine linen of knee length with side slits. The neck opening and cuffs are trimmed with English bobbin lace. The band collar and cuffs fasten with a darned white thread button. The cuffs and shoulders are embroidered with French knots in white thread.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1690-1700 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen trimmed with bobbin lace and embroidered


Height: 35 cm approx.

Object history note

The doll and its partner are thought to have belonged to the Cockerell family, descendants of Samuel Pepys. The daughter of Pepys' nephew, John Jackson (son of his sister, Pauline) married a Cockerell. The doll and its partner were named 'Lord' and 'Lady' of the family home in Clapham.

Historical significance: The doll and its partner are costume documents; their clothes being, in style, cut and material, perfect miniatures of the fashions of the late 17th century. Their importance is underlined by the almost total lack of other good visual material for this period, whether pictorial or in the form of surviving garments. In particular, the survival of accessories and the informal garments is extremely rare.

Historical context note

Dolls were widely produced in the 17th century, although very few survive. It is most unlikely that these particular examples were the playthings of children. Their production is of a high quality, almost all the accessories survive and there is little wear and tear on the dolls and their garments. They were most probably purchased for the amusement of adults, and as a decorative accessory to a home.

Descriptive line

Doll's shirt of linen trimmed with bobbin lace, London, 1690-1700

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

Hillier, Mary, Pollock's Dictionary of English Dolls, London: Robert Hale Ltd, 1982, 50-51, 202pp. ill

Labels and date

British Galleries:
These dolls were named 'Lord and Lady' of the family home in Clapham, London by their owners, the Cockerell family. The outfits of the dolls are perfect miniatures of London fashions 1690-1700. Lord Clapham's coat, waistcoat and close-fitting breeches demonstrate the newly fashionable three-piece suit. At this period the suit was not expected to match. The neck-cloth is worn in fashionable, military style.

Doll of wood and wool, face gessoed and painted, wig of human hair; linen shirt; breeches of silver tissue lined with white flannel; waistcoat of silver tissue lined with silk; wool coat, lined with silk and trimmed with silver braid; muslin neckcloth; silk stockings; leather shoes with brass buckles; felt hat [27/03/2003]


Linen; Bobbin lace


Hand sewing; Embroidery; Hand sewing; Lace making


Dolls & Toys; British Galleries; Textiles; Lace; Embroidery; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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