Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Ruff

1620-1629 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The fashionable ensemble of the early 17th century included either a ruff or a band (collar) worn at the neck. The band was gradually overtaking the ruff in fashionable dress, as it required less linen and was much easier to care for. By the 1620s, the style of ruff most commonly seen was the falling variety, made to drape over the collar of the doublet, jacket or bodice worn underneath.
This example is made of a very finely spun and woven linen, hemmed with stitches so fine they can barely be seen. The extremely narrow pleats were probably set with lengths of fine straw, over which the ruff was ironed. Seventeenth-century laundresses required great skill to execute this kind of setting, heating their irons on a stove to the temperature just hot enough to smooth, but not scorch, the linen.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, linen thread, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Falling, of pleated linen, 1620-30, English
Physical Description
A falling double ruff of 2 layers of linen, very finely hemmed and pleated, attached and bound together at neck edge with a strip of linen.
Dimensions
  • Width: 390mm
  • Depth: 255mm
  • At neck, approx. circumference: 38.0cm
  • Depth: 260mm
Credit line
Given by Miss Frances M. Beach
Object history
RF number is 16/3912.
Summary
The fashionable ensemble of the early 17th century included either a ruff or a band (collar) worn at the neck. The band was gradually overtaking the ruff in fashionable dress, as it required less linen and was much easier to care for. By the 1620s, the style of ruff most commonly seen was the falling variety, made to drape over the collar of the doublet, jacket or bodice worn underneath.

This example is made of a very finely spun and woven linen, hemmed with stitches so fine they can barely be seen. The extremely narrow pleats were probably set with lengths of fine straw, over which the ruff was ironed. Seventeenth-century laundresses required great skill to execute this kind of setting, heating their irons on a stove to the temperature just hot enough to smooth, but not scorch, the linen.
Collection
Accession Number
T.287-1916

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record createdJuly 24, 2007
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