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Forehead Cloth thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Forehead Cloth

1575-1625 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A forehead cloth was part of women's headwear in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It was usually worn with a coif and inventories from the period record matching coifs and forehead clothes being made and bought together. However, it is still unclear just how the forehead cloth was worn, as there are very few portraits illustrating both.

This forehead cloth is richly embroidered with precious metal threads and probably once had a matching coif. The repeating pattern of birds, roses, strawberries and caterpillars is typical of the naturalistic embroidery designs of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered linen with silk, silver and silver-gilt threads, hand-embroidered
Brief Description
Woman's forehead cloth of embroidered linen with coloured silk, silver and silver-gilt threads, England, 1575-1625
Physical Description
Forehead cloth of embroidered linen with coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt threads in detached buttonhole stitch, chain stitch, plaited braid stitch and couching. The pattern consists of rows of strawberries and caterpillars repeating with peacocks and roses with rosehips. The embroidery is unfinished at the edges, and traces of original pen and ink drawing remain along with the triangular outline. The forehead cloth is unlined and the hemming of the edges are modern. The thread count is approximately 65 x 80 threads per inch.
Dimensions
  • Length: 25.5cm
Styles
Credit line
Bequeathed by Frank Ward
Subjects depicted
Summary
A forehead cloth was part of women's headwear in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It was usually worn with a coif and inventories from the period record matching coifs and forehead clothes being made and bought together. However, it is still unclear just how the forehead cloth was worn, as there are very few portraits illustrating both.



This forehead cloth is richly embroidered with precious metal threads and probably once had a matching coif. The repeating pattern of birds, roses, strawberries and caterpillars is typical of the naturalistic embroidery designs of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Collection
Accession Number
T.242-1960

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record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL