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Coat and breeches

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1705 - 1715 (made)
    1710 - 1720 (altered)
    1852 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wool, silk, cotton yarn, linen yarn, linen, linen thread, silver thread, silver purl; hand-woven broadcloth, silk twill, fustian and buckram, hand-sewn

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ensemble illustrates the fashionable style of male clothing by the period 1700-1705. The coat is worn quite short and has very wide skirts carefully pleated into the side seams. The sleeves are loosely fitted with wide cuffs. Red was a fashionable colour for men, along with deep blue and more subdued shades of grey and brown. The small size of this outfit suggests it would have been worn by a young man or older boy. The back skirts of the coat were extensively repaired at a later date.

Physical description

Coat and breeches for a young man or older boy of red woollen broadcloth. The coat has a narrow binding of broadcloth at the neck. The sleeves are cut in two, curved pieces, to fit loosely, ending above the wrist, with a cuff 14 cm deep at the front and 16 cm deep at the back. The torso is cut to fit tightly with wide skirts below the hip, with 3 pleats (12 cm deep) in the back and front of the coat, on either side. The coat is lined with red silk twill, with a stiff interlining (unseen) in between, down the front edges. The coat has 15 buttons on the right front and 15 buttonholes on the left front. Only the centre 5 buttonholes have been cut; the bottom 4 and top 6 are uncut. Each coat front curves slightly from the neck edge to the 4th button/hole down. There is a curved rectangular pocket flap on each front, with a red silk twill lined pocket. The coat is decorated with silver embroidery on either side of the front. Seven uncut buttonholes of silver thread edge the skirt opening at centre back, and 4 on each pocket flap with buttons on the coat underneath. The side edge of the coat fronts is also worked with silver embroidery. There is silver embroidery along the top edge of the cuffs and 3 buttonholes with 3 corresponding buttons. The buttons are passementerie, with silver thread, purl and silver-thread-wrapped strip, over a solid core. A worked button holds the pleats top at the top and bottom on each side (the bottom left button is missing).

The breeches are cut in 4 shaped pieces, low at the front waist and high at the back. The waistband is cut in two pieces, deeper at the front than the back. The back of the legs is gathered into the waistband; there are two worked buttonholes on either side of the waistband at the back for fastening. There are 2 buttons on the right waistband and3 buttonholes on a band of wool attached to centre front left leg, with corresponding buttonholes on the left. There is button pocket flap on either side of the front. There is a pocket opening in each side seam. The outside of each leg fastens with 5 silver-worked buttons and 5 cut silver-embroidered buttonholes (3 missing on the left, 3 on the right). The bottom edge of each leg is bound with red wool. The breeches are lined with brushed, twill fustian. The pockets are made of chamois leather and edged with red silk twill around the pocket openings. The waistband and openings with buttons and buttonholes are interlined with buckram.

The coat has been mended during the early 18th century. The left skirts of the coat, front and back were replaced with red broadcloth of a slightly brighter shade. There is a small area of replacement with the same at the back of the right skirt. The red silk twill lining in these areas was not replaced. The fronts of the coat were relined with red silk twill of a slightly different shade as the original lining.

The breeches were altered for fancy dress in the mid-19th century, probably to accommodate a wearer with larger legs. An insertion of the original lining was added to each leg opening, with a triangle of red flannel over top. The binding of the leg openings was converted to a casing for black cotton tape drawstrings.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1705 - 1715 (made)
1710 - 1720 (altered)
1852 (altered)



Materials and Techniques

Wool, silk, cotton yarn, linen yarn, linen, linen thread, silver thread, silver purl; hand-woven broadcloth, silk twill, fustian and buckram, hand-sewn

Marks and inscriptions

Coat used by Samuel Enys / when Sheriff for the county / died 1744 / married Miss Dorithy / Willys of Fenn Dillon / Cambridgeshire / Same coat worn by J G Enys at a fancy dress ball at Trelissick / Decr. 30th 1852 by his uncle John Davies Gilbert
Handwritten in pen and black ink on paper and stitched to the left back lining of the coat.

Descriptive line

A young man's/older boy's coat and breeches, 1705-15, English; Red wool, silver embroidery, mended 1710-20, altered 1852


Broadcloth; Silk twill; Fustian; Buckram; Linen thread; Silver thread


Hand weaving; Hand sewing


Children's clothes; Embroidery; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project; Men's clothes

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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