Pocket Fronts thumbnail 1
Pocket Fronts thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Bags: Inside Out, Room 40

Pocket Fronts

1718-1720 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In the 18th century, women’s pockets were not sewn into their gowns. Instead they were attached to a tape and tied around the waist as separate garments. Worn under the hoops and petticoats, they were accessed through openings in the gown and petticoat seams.
These unfinished pieces of embroidery demonstrate the steps in making pockets. The design is drawn in ink on a piece of linen. The linen is then backed with another piece and set into an embroidery frame for the needlework to be carried out. Once the embroidery is finished, the pocket can be cut out, lined and sewn to the back. Next the edges were are bound and the ties attached. The embroidery pattern on this pocket is the same as its pair, and probably drawn free hand. The large floral motifs with curling leaves and petals echo woven silk designs from the period 1710–1720.
This pocket forms part of the Hannah Downes collection of needlework, executed by four generations of women between the late 17th and 19th centuries in Britain. The family tree identifies Hannah Haines, youngest daughter of Hannah Downes, as the maker of this pocket between 1718-1720.
read Make your own tie-on pockets Popularised in the 17th century, tie-on pockets offered women a convenient and portable solution for storing their personal possessions and valuables, as well as everyday objects required for social situations, or when working. Concealed under petticoats or tied on the top of skirts, these...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Pocket Front
  • Pocket Front
Materials and Techniques
Linen, hand sewn with linen thread and embroidered with silk thread
Physical Description
Linen backed with linen and embroidered in red silk thread for pocket fronts. The embroidery pattern incorporates large floral motifs.
Dimensions
  • Length: 38.5cm
  • Width: 24
  • Width: 24cm
Credit line
Given by the descendants of Hannah Downes
Object history
Given by the descendants of Hannah Downes and part of a collection of needlework executed by four generations of women. The family tree identifies Hannah Haines, youngest daughter of Hannah Downes, as the author of these pocket fronts between 1718-1720.



Historical significance: These unfinished pocket fronts illustrate part of the construction process of an 18th century pair of women's pockets.
Summary
In the 18th century, women’s pockets were not sewn into their gowns. Instead they were attached to a tape and tied around the waist as separate garments. Worn under the hoops and petticoats, they were accessed through openings in the gown and petticoat seams.

These unfinished pieces of embroidery demonstrate the steps in making pockets. The design is drawn in ink on a piece of linen. The linen is then backed with another piece and set into an embroidery frame for the needlework to be carried out. Once the embroidery is finished, the pocket can be cut out, lined and sewn to the back. Next the edges were are bound and the ties attached. The embroidery pattern on this pocket is the same as its pair, and probably drawn free hand. The large floral motifs with curling leaves and petals echo woven silk designs from the period 1710–1720.

This pocket forms part of the Hannah Downes collection of needlework, executed by four generations of women between the late 17th and 19th centuries in Britain. The family tree identifies Hannah Haines, youngest daughter of Hannah Downes, as the maker of this pocket between 1718-1720.
Collection
Accession Number
T.41&A-1935

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record createdDecember 20, 2004
Record URL