Miniature Crewelwork Pocket,

Miniature Crewelwork Pocket,

American, circa 1800

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pocket: 4 ¾"H • framed size size: 8” x 6¼” • sold

Writing about women’s pockets in What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America (Williamsburg Decorative Arts, 2012), Colonial Williamsburg curator, Linda Baumgarten, states: "In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, women’s gowns did not have sewn-in pockets, probably because pockets filled with personal belongings would have ruined the lines of full, floating skirts. Instead, women carried small items in separate, commodious bags tied around their waists beneath the skirt. Pockets were functional and hidden from most observers. Yet many women designed them with fine textiles and embroidery, a clue that pockets had some importance beyond function."

A more recently published book, The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives by Barbara Burman & Ariane Fennetaux (Yale University Press, 2019), explores this subject in great depth and within fascinating social context.

While pockets - wholecloth, piece-worked and embroidered - survive in substantial numbers, very few miniature, or doll’s pockets, are known. One of these is in the collection of Winterthur Museum, another is at the Victoria and Albert Museum. We are pleased to offer this excellent example, which measures only 4¾” inches in height. The embroidery is consistent with the majority of 18th century worked ladies’ pockets: accomplished in polychrome two-ply worsted crewel wool, the pattern is that of a leafy vine that follows the outline of the pocket as well as the edging the opening slit. Flower buds on little sprigs provide further embellishment and a twill-woven tape serves as the binding and ties.

In excellent condition and now mounted and presented in a black molded frame.



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