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Not currently on display at the V&A

Waistcoat

1780-1785 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This court waistcoat features embroidery in an eye-catching contrast of light and dark. The pale silk fabric is woven with an additional weft of silver thread. On top are worked gilt spangles, black silk and black and white glass beads. The design combines the angular and linear aesthetics of the new Neo-classical style with the flowing curves typical of the Rococo.

By the 1780s, such elaborate embroidery was only worn at court in England. The coat and breeches that accompanied this waistcoat have not survived, but portraiture of the period suggests a white silk woven with silver thread or midnight blue velvet might have completed a handsome ensemble.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, linen, cotton, silver, gold, glass, enamel; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Man's court waistcoat, 1780-85, British; of French embroidered white silk with silver stripe, embroidered with silk threads, spangles, beads
Physical Description
Man’s court waistcoat with a round neckline, curving fronts and skirts reaching to the top of the thigh. Each front has a pocket and pointed pocket flap. The fronts and pocket flaps are made of white silk taffeta with a supplementary weft of silver filé, the back of ivory silk twill. The waistcoat is lined with fustian, the pockets with linen; the skirt and pocket-flap linings and front facings are ivory silk twill. A 1¼-inch (3 cm) band of net made of silver filé is applied to the edges of the skirts. The waistcoat is embroidered-to-shape with silver and silver-gilt spangles and purl, blue foil spangles, white and black glass beads and black silk floss, in pattern of abstract floral sprigs and a fringe, on the pocket flaps, around the pockets and the front neck, along edges and hems. The waistcoat fronts are embroidered in a repeating pattern of abstract floral sprigs and geometric shapes. There are 12 worked buttonholes along the left front, with 12 embroidered buttons on the right front.
Dimensions
  • Right shoulder to hem length: 80.0cm (approx)
  • Chest under armholes circumference: 96.0cm (approx)
Credit line
Given by the Earl of Gosford
Summary
This court waistcoat features embroidery in an eye-catching contrast of light and dark. The pale silk fabric is woven with an additional weft of silver thread. On top are worked gilt spangles, black silk and black and white glass beads. The design combines the angular and linear aesthetics of the new Neo-classical style with the flowing curves typical of the Rococo.



By the 1780s, such elaborate embroidery was only worn at court in England. The coat and breeches that accompanied this waistcoat have not survived, but portraiture of the period suggests a white silk woven with silver thread or midnight blue velvet might have completed a handsome ensemble.
Bibliographic Reference
Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the 17th and 18th centuries, London: V&A, 1998, p. 146
Collection
Accession Number
T.133-1921

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record createdJuly 20, 2007
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