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Not currently on display at the V&A

Smock

1850-1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The most distinctive features of this smock are two large panels of double thickness that extend from the neck opening over the shoulders and over the upper arms, providing a little extra warmth and protection and to encouraging rain to run off rather than soak through to the body. The outer edge of each panel was divided into bands and every alternate one was embroidered with a zigzagging line. The fabric was then folded and stitched so that the embroidered bands overlap the plain ones, forming a heavy and attractive layered border. Three pearl buttons attach the panel to the shoulder of the smock.

Without the heavy embroidery this could have been a working garment for an agricultural labourer in southern England. But the extent and elaboration of the decoration suggest it was probably reserved for special occasions. It is made from the same weave of cotton twill that is used to make denim jeans and overalls.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered cotton with cotton thread
Brief Description
Man's smock of cotton twill embroidered with cotton, England, 1850-1900
Physical Description
Man's smock of cotton twill embroidered with cotton in chain and feather stitch, and smocked. With shoulder capes, and front-buttoning.
Credit line
Given by Emma (Charlie) Ehrman
Subject depicted
Summary
The most distinctive features of this smock are two large panels of double thickness that extend from the neck opening over the shoulders and over the upper arms, providing a little extra warmth and protection and to encouraging rain to run off rather than soak through to the body. The outer edge of each panel was divided into bands and every alternate one was embroidered with a zigzagging line. The fabric was then folded and stitched so that the embroidered bands overlap the plain ones, forming a heavy and attractive layered border. Three pearl buttons attach the panel to the shoulder of the smock.



Without the heavy embroidery this could have been a working garment for an agricultural labourer in southern England. But the extent and elaboration of the decoration suggest it was probably reserved for special occasions. It is made from the same weave of cotton twill that is used to make denim jeans and overalls.
Bibliographic Reference
Crill, Rosemary, Jennifer Wearden and Verity Wilson. Dress in Detail from Around the World. London: V&A Publications, 2002. 224 p., ill. ISBN 09781851773787. p. 166
Collection
Accession Number
T.109-1998

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record createdFebruary 9, 2004
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