Pair of Pockets thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Pockets

1700-1725 (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.
On this pair of pockets, the embroidery designs on each are similar but not identical, suggesting both were hand-drawn. The motif of flowers growing from pots was a popular one in British embroidery from 1700 to 1750, and can be found on aprons and petticoats. The use of wool in shaded colours evolved from crewel work (worsted embroidery) of the late 1600s. This example is very simple in design and possibly the work of an amateur.
The pockets may have been handed down to another person who found them too small. Each pocket has been extended at the top by about 4 cms.
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
  • Pocket
Materials and Techniques
Linen, wool; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Pair of women's pockets of linen twill, 1700-1735, British; embroidered with coloured worsted, bound with worsted tape, linen ties
Physical Description
Pair of women's pockets of linen twill with crewel embroidery in yellow, green and pink worsted thread with chain and stem stitches. They are worked in a design of a flower pot with flowering plant. The pockets are bound with green worsted tape and sewn to a linen tape tie. Each pocket has been lengthened at the top by about 4 cm.
Dimensions
  • T.697 b 1913 length: 37.0cm (approx)
  • T.697 b 1913 width: 19.5cm (approx)
  • T.697 c 1913 length: 35.5cm (approx)
  • T.697 c 1913 width: 19.8cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.
Object history
Given by Messrs. Harrods in 1913. Part of a very large collection of historical dress bought by them from the artist Talbot Hughes who amassed the objects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



Historical significance: An example of an early 18th century pair of women's pockets. These pair illustrate that they were altered later possibly for someone taller with larger hands.
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.

On this pair of pockets, the embroidery designs on each are similar but not identical, suggesting both were hand-drawn. The motif of flowers growing from pots was a popular one in British embroidery from 1700 to 1750, and can be found on aprons and petticoats. The use of wool in shaded colours evolved from crewel work (worsted embroidery) of the late 1600s. This example is very simple in design and possibly the work of an amateur.

The pockets may have been handed down to another person who found them too small. Each pocket has been extended at the top by about 4 cms.
Collection
Accession Number
T.697:B, C-1913

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record createdDecember 20, 2004
Record URL