Waistcoat thumbnail 1
Waistcoat thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Waistcoat

1780-1789 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Two playful monkeys gather fruit from a palm tree beneath the pocket of this 1780s waistcoat. They are embroidered in coloured silks on an ivory ribbed silk. The design for this image, known as Les Macaques can be found in a pattern book of embroidery designs for waistcoats in the Musée Historique des Tissus, in Lyon, France, executed in watercolours. There are no instructions for the floral design worked on the waistcoat’s front edges or the pockets; the embroiderer has invented one inspired by the watercolour, using palm fronds, sprays of grass and floral sprigs.

In addition to floral patterns, figurative and pictorial designs, such as tigers, dogs and scenes from the opera, were popular and appear on other embroidered waistcoats of this period. The Lyon pattern books contain lions, air balloons, architectural ruins and pastoral scenes among their wealth of designs.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk and linen, hand woven and hand sewn
Brief Description
square cut, 1780s, French; Cream silk, embroidered, monkeys, K von Metternich
Physical Description
A man's silk waistcoat embroidered with silk in a pattern of monkeys, backed with linen. The moneky on the left is a lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) and the monkey on the right is a crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis).
Dimensions
  • Height: 520mm (Dims when flat) (Note: Chest 99cm, waist 101.5cm The waistcoat has been altered - by 17cm at the chest - by 27cm at the lower edge )
  • Width: 470mm (Dims when flat)
Production typeUnique
Credit line
Purchase.
Object history
RF number is 48/1957.

The seller stated that the waistcoat had belonged to Kaspar von Metternich, father of the Austrian chancellor Prince Metternich. Prince Metternich was Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fuerst von Metternich-Winneburg-Beilstein.



Purchased for 10 pounds from Baron Leopold Podhragy.



The waistcoat was displayed in the "Textile Arts of France" exhibition from 27 March 1979 for about twelve months.
Subject depicted
Summary
Two playful monkeys gather fruit from a palm tree beneath the pocket of this 1780s waistcoat. They are embroidered in coloured silks on an ivory ribbed silk. The design for this image, known as Les Macaques can be found in a pattern book of embroidery designs for waistcoats in the Musée Historique des Tissus, in Lyon, France, executed in watercolours. There are no instructions for the floral design worked on the waistcoat’s front edges or the pockets; the embroiderer has invented one inspired by the watercolour, using palm fronds, sprays of grass and floral sprigs.



In addition to floral patterns, figurative and pictorial designs, such as tigers, dogs and scenes from the opera, were popular and appear on other embroidered waistcoats of this period. The Lyon pattern books contain lions, air balloons, architectural ruins and pastoral scenes among their wealth of designs.
Bibliographic Reference
Hart, Avril and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries, London: V&A Publications, 1998, p. 108
Collection
Accession Number
T.49-1948

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record createdAugust 16, 2006
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