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Pair of gloves

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1660s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather embroidered with silver and silver-gilt thread, silk ribbon and spangles

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
No 17th-century ensemble was complete without gloves and this particularly lavish pair would have belonged to someone well-born and very wealthy.

Ownership & Use
In an age when personal hygiene involved the masking of body odours rather than washing them away, gloves were often perfumed. Recipes for scenting gloves survive from the 17th century using ingredients such as musk, ambergris, floral extracts and aromatic spices.

Materials & Making
This richly decorated leather glove has silver and silver-gilt embroidery on the gauntlet, with an underlay of coral-coloured silk ribbon. The precious metals have been applied in a variety of forms: strip (broad, flat length of metal), purl (a tube of densely coiled metal), thread (a thin strip of metal wrapped around a linen or silk thread) and spangles (known now as sequins).

As the 17th century progressed, the shape of gloves changed. The gauntlets became smaller and the length of the fingers shortened to more natural proportions. The embroidery is much denser than at the beginning of the 17th century, with a preference for metal thread over coloured silks.

Physical description

Pair of embroidered leather gloves with silver and silver-gilt thread. Applied cuffs embroidered with metal threads, spangles, strip and purl. With underlay of coral-coloured silk ribbon.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1660s (made)



Materials and Techniques

Leather embroidered with silver and silver-gilt thread, silk ribbon and spangles


Length: 31.3 cm, Width: 15.2 cm, Width: 9.2 cm across hand at thumb

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

Pair of embroidered leather gloves with silver and silver-gilt thread, England, 1660s

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Gloves played an essential part in 17th-century etiquette, and are often shown prominently in portraits. The wealthy would not appear in public without them. Silver and silver-gilt thread, purl (a small tube of coiled metal thread) and lace frequently embellished the most elaborate gloves. [27/03/2003]




Embroidering; Gilding


Accessories; Fashion; Clothing; Embroidery; Textiles; Leather; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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