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  Embroidered Green Silk Fichu
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Embroidered Green Silk Fichu
Continental, mid-18th c.

Fichus, or scarves, were integral components of women's day dress in the eighteenth century. They could be triangular in shape, or square and folded into a triangle, and were worn over the shoulders covering the upper chest. They were generally made of fine white cotton or linen and often decorated with whitework embroidery. This example was clearly intended for formal wear. The edges of the sheer green silk are worked primarily in wrapped silver and silver-gilt thread with silk floss accents in shades of pink, blue, and purple in satin, long-and-short, and buttonhole stitches with a dense pattern of stylized pomegranates and florals. While many women embroidered their own fichus, the extensive use of rich materials in this example and its elaborate design point to a professional workshop.



Embroidered Petitpoint Braces
ca. 1820-30 and ca. 1840s

Embroidered Petitpoint Braces

Men's braces of the nineteenth century were often highly decorative accessories and would have complimented the richly patterned, colorful waistcoats with which they would have been worn. Both of these pairs are embroidered in silk thread on silk canvas grounds. One pair features a scrolling foliate trail, while the other features stylized florals and foliage. The former pair incorporates fine metal springs that provide elasticity. A nice touch in the latter pair, given that it would not have been seen, is the use of a self-figured ivory silk ribbon on the reverse side.

$950 / $1,450


Embroidered Petitpoint Braces
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  Crewelwork Wallet, American, 1760s
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Crewelwork Wallet
American, 1760s

Quotidian dress in colonial America included an array of accessories that contributed to fashionable attire. These utilitarian items were often highly decorative, such as this colorfully patterned crewelwork wallet. The owner's name, May Davis Gold Smith (who likely made the piece), appears at the top edge under the flap. The embroiderer worked her bright palette of crewel yarns in tent stitch on a canvas ground to create a charming design of floral vines and a parrot. The wallet is lined in red silk and its edges are bound with salmon silk ribbon. Able to withstand much wear-and-tear, the durability of crewelwork was well suited to embellish a personalized object that would have been carried and used, as well as cherished.



Hand-painted paper fan with figures in a garden
French, mid-18th c.

This charming fan depicts a fashionable couple seated on a canapé in an elegant garden, attended by a female servant with a basket of fruit, and a small dog at their feet. In the background are a trellised gazebo and fence and woods, and in the foreground a river with bushes to either side. The outer and upper edges of the fan are decorated with scrolling brackets and floral clusters. The bone sticks are inset with gold metallic strips that alternate straight and zigzag. The reverse shows a rustic house on a small island.

10.5" H x 18.75" W


Hand-painted paper fan, French, mid-18th c.
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Cotton Sateen Shawl


Cotton Sateen Shawl with
Block-Printed Design
English, ca. 1825-50

Highly popular as fashion accessories in the nineteenth century, this lively patterned shawl attests to the success of the English cotton printing industry in the first half of the nineteenth century and the longstanding influence of Indian textiles. The industry, based primarily in the area of Manchester, produced a wide range of goods for the expanding middle- and working-classes who were eager to acquire the latest fashion novelties. The faux ikat pattern in the field and, particularly, the boteh motifs in the borders clearly reference woven Indian shawls that had first come to England in the late eighteenth century, although the palette here is decidedly European. This type of inexpensively manufactured shawl fed the ongoing taste for exoticism for the mass-market consumer.



Pair of Ladies Embroidered Garters
French, ca. 1800

Concealed under full-length gowns and petticoats, garters secured the stockings just above or below the knee.  In the latter part of the eighteenth century, short garters incorporating fine metal springs and buckles replaced long ribbons or bands that tied around the leg.  On a lightly padded ivory satin ground, a trailing vine with diminutive, stylized buds is worked in gradated pink-to-burgundy and light-to-dark green chenille threads, accented with tiny false pearls; along the sides, ivory chenille threads form a shallow, scalloped edging. This type of chenille needlework on garters, particularly fashionable around the turn of the nineteenth century, was in keeping with the restrained ornament of neoclassical dress.


  Embroidered Garters - click for detail
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Satin Slipper Shoes, early 19th c.

Multi-color Linen Sandals
American, 1930s–40s

Open-toe style with cutouts. Wide yellow and red criss-crossed straps over toes; narrow purple and green criss-crossed straps over instep and continuing around back, threaded through red quarters; blue Cuban heel.



Embroidered Velveteen Uncut Men's Slippers
English, ca. 1921

Embroidered Velveteen Uncut Men's Slippers

Although these uncut slippers are reminiscent of a late nineteenth-century aesthetic both in the rendering of the floral motifs and the use of multicolored glass beads, they were made up around 1921. They are backed with pages cut out from the Law Reports, an English publication, from that year. As was the case in the previous century, these may well have been worked from a pattern in a women's magazine that often included embroidery designs for a variety of objects including dress accessories and household items. The cotton with its small allover paisley pattern was a staple of the nineteenth-century printed cotton industry and clearly continued to be popular early in the following century.



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