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

Pair of Gloves

ca. 1800 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

These brightly contrasting patterned gloves are typical of a style of glove produced in Spain about 1800. They are kidskin dyed in pastel colours and printed in black in decorative and figurative designs. This pair bears a lozenge pattern, with each compartment filled with a motif. Flowers, birds and a series of rustic figures adorn the leather. The edge at the wrist is scalloped and pinked.

Now surviving in museum collections throughout Europe and North America, this style of glove must have been a brief, but very popular fad of the last years of the 18th century. As gloves were one of the few gifts a man could give to a single woman he was not engaged to marry, new designs and colours were eagerly sought after to provide variety in this staple form of present.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Glove
  • Glove
Materials and Techniques
Kid, linen thread; hand-sewn
Physical Description
A pair of women's wrist-length gloves of dyed-yellow kid, printed in black in a lozenge pattern. Each diamond contains a printed motif: carnival and rustic figures alternating with flowers and birds. The wrist edge is scalloped and pinked.
Dimensions
  • Length: 225mm
  • Width: 90mm
  • Depth: 60mm
For each glove. Measured by Conservation.
Credit line
Given by Mrs C. J. Wallace
Object history
NB. While the term ‘cripples’ has been used in this record, it has since fallen from usage and is now considered offensive. The term is repeated in this record in its original historical context.



Historical significance: Siginificant as an example of a fashion dating to the late 18th and early 19th century and worn across Europe.
Historical context
Printed kidskin gloves of this type were fashionable from the last decade of the 18th century until the 1820s. They were suitable for wearing with the long sleeved day dresses which women adopted in the last decade of the century. Long gloves continued to be required for court dress which retained its short sleeves. By this date many European countries were manufacturing gloves, both in leather and in woven or knitted textiles made of silk, cotton, linen or wool. Stylistically, these particular gloves fit with others known to have been made in Spain (Barcelona) – a country with a long tradition in working leather.



The Technique

Printed kidskin was used for gloves and also for producing the backing for fans. English fanmakers were printing on leather before 1720 (La Coleccion de Abanicos del Museo Municipal, Madrid, 2002, p. 59) The intaglio method of printing used a copper plate. The design was engraved with a buril or dry point into the plate, then the plate was immersed in ink and the leather placed on it in a screw press. Several different pairs of gloves could be printed at a time. The same plate could subseequently be used hundreds of times. If the motifs lost their sharpness as a result of wear and tear, the owner of the gloves could have them reprinted. (See Pasolodos below).



Printed motifs

A variety of motifs were printed on gloves. The Spanish historian Mercedes Pasolodos has identified several thematic groups:

1. corresponds to that used on this pair of gloves. It runs from top to bottom in a series of diamond shapes which contain flowers, birds and human figures, possibly from the commedia dell'arte (some are dancing, others are carrying musical instruments). At the base of the glove is a wide band on which are found unusual figures carrying swords and musical instruments, such as guitars, tambourines and a clarinet. They are very similar to figures engraved by Jacques Callot (1592-1635) who was an outstanding engraver from Nantes (He trained in Rome and Florence). His Gobbi or hunchbacks are famous and were small etchings retouched using a buril. They included characters who were common in early 17th-century Italy and were popular entertainment at festivals - cripples, dancers, musicians, and armed men. While the duellists on these gloves are reminiscent of those engraved by Callot, they also differ, notably in their dress and the size of the hunchback. They seem to have been 'hispanisized' and modernized. Similarly, Callot's Fluteplayer may have served the engraver of the gloves as a model. Callot's work is known to have had a lasting impact in artistic circles, the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya drawing on him as a source.



In the gloves of this design in the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas in Madrid (inv. 6475-6476), there is a stamp: 'BARNA No I' (in circle) 'FDKAYPH??? DOMo LLUCH' (round the outside of the circle). This presumably refers to where the gloves were put on sale or made. In other words, in Barcelona by Domingo Lluch. There are other gloves with a different design with this stamp in the MNAD and in the Museum of Fashion in Bath (inv. 23428).



2. The second form of decoration covers the entire glove in a series of bands and strips, bordered by fine lines. They are narrow in the fingers and broader in the upper part. In the bands of decoration there are anchors, rosettes, baskets of flowers, cornucopia, palm trees, among other deocrative motifs. This type of patterning is reminiscent of Pompeyan decoration revived in the eighteenth century.



3. The third form has checkerboard pattern on the hands with little motifs in each square, and round the base figures from Spanish popular culture. These date to the early 19th century. A known maker of these gloves was Felix Torreulla, c/Escudillers, 44 in Madrid.



4. The fourth type are gloves that are printed and painted, often with figures and mottoes. They tend to date to the first two decades of the 19th century, the characters being dressed in fashions of that period.



Surviving examples

Printed kidskin gloves of this type were fashionable from the last decade of the 18th century until the 1820s and examples survive in a number of museums, including Bath Museum of Fashion (inv. 23429 & 23431), Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (inv. 21741), Museo del Traje and Museo Cerralbo (Inv., 6369 & 6370) in Madrid and the Centre de Documentacion i Museu Textil de Terrassa (inv. 14826). There is some debate as to where such gloves were made. The evidence put forward in the article cited below documents at least some to Spain.



Bibliography

For general overview on gloves of this type as well as more specific information incorporated above, see Mercedes Pasalodos Salgado, 'Printed gloves, elegant hands', Datatèxtil 20, Centre de Documentacio i Museu Textile de Terrassa, 2009, pp. 16-42.
Summary
These brightly contrasting patterned gloves are typical of a style of glove produced in Spain about 1800. They are kidskin dyed in pastel colours and printed in black in decorative and figurative designs. This pair bears a lozenge pattern, with each compartment filled with a motif. Flowers, birds and a series of rustic figures adorn the leather. The edge at the wrist is scalloped and pinked.



Now surviving in museum collections throughout Europe and North America, this style of glove must have been a brief, but very popular fad of the last years of the 18th century. As gloves were one of the few gifts a man could give to a single woman he was not engaged to marry, new designs and colours were eagerly sought after to provide variety in this staple form of present.
Bibliographic References
  • Valerie Cumming, The Costume Accessories Series: Gloves, London: Batsford, 1982, figure 36
  • Two Centuries of British Fashion. From the Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Moscow Kremlin Museums, 2008, cat. 36.
Collection
Accession Number
T.169&A-1922

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record createdMay 22, 2007
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