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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

This object consists of 3 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Ensemble

1630s (made), 1870-1900 (altered)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This ensemble demonstrates fashionable formal dress for men in the 1630s. The breeches are long and fairly full in cut, reaching just below the knee. The doublet has a high waist at the sides and back, extending to a point in front. A deliberate opening of the seam on each sleeve allows the fine linen shirt underneath to be seen. No ensemble was complete without a cloak, and this example spans almost a full circle. The ornamental technique used on this outfit is unique and complicated. Braided silk threads were couched to narrow bias strips of satin which were sewn to a wider satin strip, pinked on each side. Then they were cut into short pieces and arranged vertically and diagonally over the satin surfiace of each garment to create a decorative effect that, from a distance, looks like slashing. The cape [flat collar] of the cloak has been altered at a later date.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Cloak
  • Doublet
  • Breeches
Materials and Techniques
Silk, linen, pasteboard; hand-woven, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Man's ensemble of cloak, doublet and breeches, 1630s, English; yellow silk satin, appliqué faux slashing, cloak altered 1870-1900
Physical Description
Man’s doublet, breeches and cloak of yellow silk satin applied with decoration made of two bias strips of the satin with braided yellow silk thread couched on each, on a wider strip of satin, pinked on each side. The doublet is interlined with stiffened yellow linen and lined with yellow silk satin. It has a 2¾-inch (8 cm) standing collar, ⅞-inch (2.3 cm) deep shoulder wings, curving 2-piece sleeves and 6 large, deep laps. The centre back seam and inside sleeve seams are open. The decoration is applied vertically and diagonally over the whole doublet. The belly pieces are probably made of pasteboard stitched into layers of linen and covered with yellow silk satin. There are 8 worked buttonholes on each sleeve and 29 on the left front with 5 button loops of braided yellow silk thread on the left side of the collar. The buttons have a wooden core, covered with yellow silk thread. Only 2 buttons remain; the rest are replacements. Six loops of the yellow silk decoration are sewn to the inside waist. There is a lacing tab of yellow satin on the inside of each front.



The breeches are made of the same yellow satin and applied decoration, narrowing in width down the length of the legs, which taper in width to a narrow binding below the knee. There are pocket openings on each side at the front; the pocket bags are missing. The breeches fasten with a pair of worked eyelets on each side at centre front, a buttonhole stand on the left with 9 worked buttonholes, and 8 buttons (1 missing) on the right. The breeches appear to have had a lining or liner attached at the waist, now missing. Threads remaining on the waistband indicate that there were probably 6 metal hooks originally sewn to it.



The cloak is almost a complete circle, made of yellow silk satin, with the decoration applied in ten rows around the hem and up the front edges, narrowingin width. The cloak was altered in the late 19th century, possibly for fancy dress. A panel of yellow silk satin was removed at the centre back and replaced with an olive green taffeta. The 9½-inch (24 cm) cape [collar] was removed, part of it cut off and the remainder sewn to the centre back neck.
Dimensions
  • Doublet, overall length: 64.3cm (approx)
  • Doublet, chest under armholes circumference: 91.5cm (approx)
  • Breeches, overall length: 71.5cm (approx)
  • Breeches, waist circumference: 85.0cm (approx)
  • Cloak, overall length: 79.0cm (approx)
Summary
This ensemble demonstrates fashionable formal dress for men in the 1630s. The breeches are long and fairly full in cut, reaching just below the knee. The doublet has a high waist at the sides and back, extending to a point in front. A deliberate opening of the seam on each sleeve allows the fine linen shirt underneath to be seen. No ensemble was complete without a cloak, and this example spans almost a full circle. The ornamental technique used on this outfit is unique and complicated. Braided silk threads were couched to narrow bias strips of satin which were sewn to a wider satin strip, pinked on each side. Then they were cut into short pieces and arranged vertically and diagonally over the satin surfiace of each garment to create a decorative effect that, from a distance, looks like slashing. The cape [flat collar] of the cloak has been altered at a later date.
Collection
Accession Number
T.58 to B-1910

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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