Buff moleskin fustian, buttoning to neck with 6 covered buttons. Shooting or hunting coat, lined with brown cotton. Buttons to neck with 6 covered buttons; sleeves fastening with 2 buttons at cuffs. Skirt with deep inner pockets extending from front to cb slit; 3 outer pockets each side, 1 in skirt and 2 above. Inner pockets have 2 brass buttons to fasten; outer top pocket has 1.
Although sometimes purely a sport, shooting for many people was an essential rural pursuit, legal or illegal. Poaching was endemic in the countryside enabling poor labourers to catch the wherewithall to make a decent meal, and most surviving shooting coats have large capacious inner "poacher's pockets" to hold powder flasks and ammunition for the gun, and also to hide caught game like rabbit, hare and grouse. This coat is made of a thick stout undyed cotton known as moleskin which was both warm and virtually waterproof, and there are two deep inner "poacher's pockets" in the skirts and six flapped outer pockets. Although we know that it was worn for shooting in Staffordshire, in its cut, it follows the fashionable line for the 1840s, as seen by comparing to the white linen suit pictured below. These stout jackets were worn with a variety of warm woollen trousers, sometimes checked for fashionable shooting parties, and hats like soft bowlers (see photograph below). From the 1870s, the Norfolk jacket in checked wool and belted at the waist rather like a safari jacket, was introduced for shooting parties, and also by this date, more modern shotguns obviated the need for carrying a powder flask.
Place of creation
© Manchester Art Gallery