Apr 152011

Elizabethan garb, textiles, jewelry, paintings and interior at the V&A (Victoria & Albert museum), London

Smock embroidered with blackwork
c. 1575-85
Linen embroidered with silk in black, stem and darning stitches with buttonhole filling
Embroidered in England, the silk thread probably from Spain.

Smock embroidered with redwork

A different smock

Woman’s jacket, c. 1600-1625
Ivory silk and linen with a silver stripe, made in England

Knitted jacket, c. 1625-1650
Hand-knitted in silk and silver gilt wrapped silk, lined with linen. Made in London or imported from Italy.
Although this jacket is made from expensive materials, it was a very informal style of garment. Knitted jackets seem to have been produced at workshops, being knitted in rectangles and sold in sets, to be sewn up at home.

Another knitted jacket

An embroidered jacket
Linen with silver embroideries

Elizabeth Luton’s embroidered jacket
This jacket’s pattern is given in Janet Arnold’s „Patterns of Fashion“; actually, I based my own version of that jacket as well as my Elizabethan Swirl Embroideries fabric from Spoonflower and the very same design on other products than fabric on Zazzle as well as CafePress (like phone cases, messenger bags, rugs and shower curtains) on the embroidery pattern of the Luton jacket.
It’s one of the rare examples where the garment has survived along with a painting that actually shows the garment.
I’ve tried to document the embroideries from all possible angles (which wasn’t too easy as the back of the jacket is standing before a wall…), so that someone who would be willing to actually imitate the exact embroidery could do so.
For myself I will also probably make a reproduction, and therefore will pass the embroidery through the software for my embroidery machine in order to create an almost perfect, even if machine made embroidery copy.

Embroidered red cloak, c. 1580-1600
Red satin, couched and embroidered with silver, silver-gilt and colored silk threads, trimmed with silver gilt and silk thread fringe and tassel, lined with pink linen, now faded
If you look carefully at the lining, which I also tried to photograph, you can almost perfectly see the direction of warp and weft threads of the lining, giving an indication how this cloak was cut.

Man’s white doublet, c. 1635-1640
Glazed linen embroidered with linen thread, made in England
I know that this almost looks as if there was lace used as an overlay for the linen, but it’s in fact embroidered…

Pinked and embossed doublet and breeches, c. 1630-1640
Satin, stamped and slashed, trimmed with silk braid and silk ribbon. Five motifs have been stamped into the satin in a process similar to leather bookbinding.

Yet another suit, quilted this time:

Glove, c. 1590-1610
White leather with gauntlet tapestry woven in silk and gold, 33 warp threads per inch. Possibly made at the Sheldon tapestry workshop at Barcheston, Warwickshire

Pair of mittens, c. 1600
Embroidered in England, said to have been a gift from Elizabeth I to her maid of honor, Margaret Edgcumbe (1560-1648).
Crimson velvet, white satin, embroidered with silver gilt thread, colored silks, beads, and spangles.

Cope, made for Henry VII’s household
A cope was a semi-circular cloak worn by a priest during church ceremonies. Henry VII (1457-1509) left this cope to Westminster Abbey where he had built his own burial chapel.
Cloth of gold velvet made in Florencee, Italy; orphreys and hood embroidered in England and possibly added in the 17th century.

Woman’s coif (cap), c. 1600-1625
Linen, silk and silver gilt thread, made in England
The last picture shows the inside of the cap on the transparent plastic stand it’s mounted on.

Man’s nightcap, ca. 1600-1624
Despite their name, such caps were worn during the day at home, and although they do appear in portraits, they were never worn in public.
Linen, colored silk and silver gilt thread with silver gilt bobbin lace and spangles

Embroidered handkerchief, c. 1600-1630
Linen embroidered with silks, bordered with bobbin lace worked in silver and silver gilt thread. Made in England.


The Hunsdon Jewels

Bracelet, probably 1500-1600
The inventory of Elizabeth I’s jewels in 1587 describes a rock crystal bracelet, set with „sparcks of rubies, and little sparcks of saphiers.“ This bracelet, which may be the one described, is an outstandingly rare object today. No other Indian bracelets like it have survived from that period.

Girdle book, c. 1553
Enameled gold with a shell cameo containing in manuscript the deathbed prayer of Edward VI (died 1553)

Onyx Cameo, 1580-1590
Cameo carved probably in Milan, Italy

Ship pendant, c. 1580

Paintings – Miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard and others

Elizabeth I, miniature by Nicholas Hilliard

Elizabeth I, miniature by Nicholas Hilliard

Textiles & Embroideries

Lover’s ribbon, c. 1600
Satin embroidered with silk and couched cord

Embroidery known as the „Shepheard Buss“, 1570-1600
Linen, embroidered in silk with bobbin lace border
This hanging or cover shows an elizabethan sheperd mourning his lost lover.

Various textiles and embroideries

Door, Antwerp, 1580
Attributed to Hans Vredeman de Vries. Oak with marquetry of various woods, inscribed „CHRISTYUS OGHE DORSIENT AL“ (The eyes of Christ see all).

Virginals with the devices of Elizabeth I., c. 1570-80
Several sources mention that Elizabeth was an excellent keyboard player and it is possible that she played on this very instrument. It was probably made by Benedictus Florianus in Venice, Italy.

Pistol, powder flask and musket, c. 1580-88
Wood inlaid with staghorn

  One Response to “Elizabethan at V&A”

Comments (1)
  1. Such stunning workmanship; it was pure joy to look at all these exquisite pieces!

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