Linen jacket, probably restyled contemporarily for a younger wearer, with turn-down collar and cuffs in bright pink silk faille, edged with narrow van-dyked metallic bobbin lace. All-over design in coloured silks showing a scrolling fruiting vine with spikey leaves and bunches of multi-coloured grapes. The ground is sewn with scattered sequins, mostly still extant. Probably professionally embroidered; to be worn domestically to entertain. The design is influenced by source books such as 'The Commonplace Book' of Thomas Trevilian (1604) especially the fruiting vine and twisted knot (nos 266 and 251) and 'The Needle's Excellency' by James Boler (c. 1620); there is also a very similar fruiting vine in 'A Schole-house for the Needle' by Shorleyker (1632) and in Thomas Trevelyon's 'Miscellany' of 1608 (plate 1014a). Although rare there are similarly styled jackets in the collections at the V&A, Burrell, and Bath.
Clothes from the seventeenth century are now extremely rare survivals, especially whole garments like man's doublets and shirts, or women's bodices or stays. The Gallery has a comprehensive selection of such pieces, as well as accessories like gloves, fans, purses and shoes, many of which belonged to a single family, the Filmers of Kent. Clothing of this date is often made much more interesting by the sophisticated and imaginative embroidery which decorates it, as in all the examples shown. The main image shows a woman's informal, but highly fashionable, jacket entirely covered in coloured silk embroidery showing symmetrical scrolling foliage holding polychrome bunches of grapes. Even the linen shirt in the last image, dating from the 1630s and the earliest man's shirt in the collections, has fine whitework embroidery at the neck as well as a scalloped needle lace falling collar.
Place of creation
© Manchester Art Gallery