Embroidered Lady's Pocket,

Embroidered Lady's Pocket,

England, early 18th century

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size of the pocket: 16” x 10” • framed size: 20½” x 14¼” • sold

A wonderfully informative article, entitled “Ladies’ Pockets” and written by Yolanda Van de Krol was published in The Magazine Antiques, March 1996 and includes the following quotation: 

“Beginning in the mid-to-late seventeenth century, women wore detachable, bell-shaped bags tied around their waists as pockets. Women carried a wide range of objects in their pockets, from sewing implements to drinking cups. Since it is quite common for pockets to be fifteen inches or more deep, women could carry many objects at a time … [they survive] as intriguing manifestations of female ingenuity, thriftiness and needlework skills.”

This beautifully embroidered pocket would have been functional as well as decorative, and was likely worked by its owner. The polychrome needlework features a striped, two-handled basket filled with large blossom flowers on delicate, leafy stems. A pair of smaller flower baskets and four endearing sprigs of three-petal flowers provide further embellishment and the pocket opening is edged with rich embroidery. The ground is fairly covered with a wonderful period device, faux-quilted vermicelli patterned silk stiches, which create a highly appealing texture. 

Worked in silk on linen, this needlework is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a new gold leaf frame.  

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