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Pair of gloves, 1603-1625 V&A Museum no.1506&A-1882

Techniques - Leather and satin, embroidered with silk and metal thread, spangles and seed pearls

Artist/designer - Unknown

Place - England

Dimensions - Height 9 cm (maximum, at lace cuffs) Width 26 cm (maximum) Length 41.5 cm (maximum)

Object Type - Gloves served several purposes in early 17th-century England. Many were solely decorative, to display the wealth and status of their owner. They were worn in the hat or belt, as well as carried in the hand. Gloves were popular as gifts and were often given by a young gallant to his favourite mistress. In combat, a glove was thrown down as a gage, or challenge.

Materials & Making - Seed pearls decorate this very richly embellished glove. Silver and silver-gilt thread and purl (short lengths of metal thread curled tightly together like a minute spring), spangles (an old term for sequins) and coloured silks cover the densely embroidered satin gauntlet. Each motif is heavily padded underneath with additional stitches to give a pronounced three-dimensional effect.

Subjects Depicted - A snail, a lion and a sheep are embroidered on the gloves. These animals may relate to the heraldry of the owner. They could also be personal devices of the wearer, chosen to represent some individual quality or virtue. Many of the motifs that appear in Jacobean embroidery were copied from emblem books. This was a popular form of literature, which linked visual images with moral virtues.



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