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Not currently on display at the V&A

Mantle

1590-1610 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Fine linen mantles were worn by both gentry and aristocratic women in the early 17th century. Embellishing them with lace, whitework and cutwork was characteristic of the period.

From the early 16th century until the 1630s, Portugal had trading posts in Bengal and imported textiles including embroideries worked in yellow silk on cotton. By the mid-16th century, Lisbon was producing needlework in a similar style using linen instead of cotton. Initially, the designs copied Indian embroideries, but soon began incorporating other influences. The design of this cloak is Islamic in character as interpreted by 16th-century European design books.

The collar and collar band are of a different design and quality of linen thread, suggesting that they may have been recycled from another linen garment.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, linen thread, linen needle lace; hand-sewn and hand-embroidered
Brief Description
Woman's mantle of linen, 1590-1610, Portuguese; whitework embroidered in 'Indo-Portuguese' style with needlelace insertions and edging
Physical Description
A mantle made of 13 panels of narrow linen, sewn together and embroidered with linen in chain and blanket stitch and knots, with an insertion of linen needle lace in the centre of every 4th panel. The design features repeating geometrical and circular patterns and a deep border at the hem. At the neck, the mantle is gathered and stitched to a narrow, embroidered band of linen. The collar is a different quality of linen, embroidered in a different pattern. It is cutwork with linen thread in buttonhole and double-plaited stitch. To fasten, there are two bound eyelets, one on each side of the neckband. The whole mantle is unlined and edged with linen needlelace.
Dimensions
  • Overall, approx. length: 120.7cm
  • At hem, approx. circumference: 324.5cm
Object history
This mantle was part of a collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century linens purchased from Lady Arundell in 1913. It was part of a group of accessories found in a dry well at Old Wardour Castle and said to have been placed there while it was under seige in 1643.
Summary
Fine linen mantles were worn by both gentry and aristocratic women in the early 17th century. Embellishing them with lace, whitework and cutwork was characteristic of the period.



From the early 16th century until the 1630s, Portugal had trading posts in Bengal and imported textiles including embroideries worked in yellow silk on cotton. By the mid-16th century, Lisbon was producing needlework in a similar style using linen instead of cotton. Initially, the designs copied Indian embroideries, but soon began incorporating other influences. The design of this cloak is Islamic in character as interpreted by 16th-century European design books.



The collar and collar band are of a different design and quality of linen thread, suggesting that they may have been recycled from another linen garment.
Bibliographic Reference
Thornton, Claire, 'Embroidered Linen Mantle', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds. Seventeenth-century Women's Dress Patterns, Book 1, London: V&A Publishing, 2011, pp. 98-109
Collection
Accession Number
T.105-1913

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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