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Handkerchief

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, embroidered with silk and trimmed with metal thread bobbin lace

  • Museum number:

    T.133-1956

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Handkerchiefs made of plain linen served the same function in the 16th century as they do today. However, if they were decorated they could also be carried purely as fashionable accessories and given as gifts. Queen Elizabeth I frequently received sets of embroidered handkerchiefs on New Year's Day. The embroidery here, creating a pattern of stylised honeysuckle and grapevines, is partly worked in double running stitch. This is a double sided stitch, creating identical patterns on the front and back of the fabric. The metal lace adds to the showy effect, and its weight would have made the handkerchief drape gracefully. The initials 'E. M.' may indicate its maker, or its recipient, who could have been a man or a woman.

Physical description

Linen embroidered with silk in double running and detached buttonhole stitiches, trimmed with silver-gilt bobbin lace. Thread count approx 50 threads per cm, balanced plain weave.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1600 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Linen, embroidered with silk and trimmed with metal thread bobbin lace

Marks and inscriptions

em
embroidering; silk thread

Dimensions

Height: 37 cm, Width: 37 cm

Historical context note

Handkerchiefs made of plain linen served the same function in the sixteenth century as they do today. However, if they were decorated they could also be carried purely as fashionable accessories and given as gifts. Elizabeth frequently received sets of embroidered handkerchiefs on new Year's Day. The embroidery here, creating a pattern of stylised honeysuckle and grapevines, is partly worked in double running stitch. This is a double sided stitch, creating identical patterns on the front and back of the fabric. The metal lace adds to the showy effect, and its weight would have made the handkerchief drape gracefully. The initials 'em' may indicate its maker, or its recipient (male or female) as a gift.

Production Note

initialled 'em'

Materials

Linen; Lace

Techniques

Embroidery; Lace making

Subjects depicted

Vines; Honeysuckle

Categories

Accessories; Embroidery; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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