Pocket

1718-1720 (made)
Pocket thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Temporary Exhibition, Room 40
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.
This is an example of a single pocket made of linen, embroidered with silk and bearing its original linen tie. Its small size and the short length of the opening and the tie suggest that it was made for a young girl. Yellow silk thread on white linen was a popular combination in British embroideries of the early 18th century, influenced by imported Indian embroideries. The use of backstitch can also be attributed to Indian needlework, although the pattern of the flowers reflects embroidery designs found on British accessories, such as aprons and gloves.
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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, hand sewn with linen thread, embroidered with silk thread, and linen tape
Physical Description
A single pocket made of linen, embroidered in floral motifs with yellow silk, with a linen tape tie
Dimensions
  • Length: 27cm (maximum)
  • Width: 18.2cm (maximum)
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 maker of this pocket between 1718-1720.



Historical significance: An example of an early 18th century women's pocket, a separate garment worn tied around the waist under the petticoats. The small size of this pocket and the short length of its opening suggest that it was made for a young girl.
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.

This is an example of a single pocket made of linen, embroidered with silk and bearing its original linen tie. Its small size and the short length of the opening and the tie suggest that it was made for a young girl. Yellow silk thread on white linen was a popular combination in British embroideries of the early 18th century, influenced by imported Indian embroideries. The use of backstitch can also be attributed to Indian needlework, although the pattern of the flowers reflects embroidery designs found on British accessories, such as aprons and gloves.

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.42-1935

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record createdDecember 20, 2004
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