Monday, August 13, 2007

c1725 Boy's Silk Brocade Shortcoat, bizarre silk c1690-1700
I am so proud and honored to have this little gem here at the Museum. Boy's clothing from the 18th century is as rare as a hen's tooth.....and to have a piece this early, takes my breath away. This is what would have been called at the time, a shortcoat. Made for a little boy younger than 4 years olde~ he would have been given this shortcoat after learning to walk~ as there is no evidence of leading strings.
The front has a mock tabbed waistband edged in green silke. After the age of 4, little boys would have graduated up to a frock~ which is essentially this same idea, but bodice and skirt would be separate, and bodice would most likely be boned, ( stiffened with whalebone). See how symmetrical the design of the silke has been pieced? This was the norm throughout the entire 18th century~ this symmetrical design concept~ everything must be even, and patterns of brocade matched perfectly.
Here is a side view of the sleeve, open at the cuffs with hand sewn eyelets and original laces. Just above the cuff is a separate 'wing' cuff.....it makes for a stunning silhouette
Wing cuff back view. The silke on this piece is still very bright and in excellent condition. Unlike 19th century silkes and early 20th century Edwardian examples that were thin and weighted with chemicals....18th century ones are pure silk, very dense and heavy, often pieces could take months to hand weave, spending 12+ hours a day at the loom.....making them extremely expensive and valuable. When a person dies in the 16-1700's, their estate was inventoried and divided as per their will to their heirs, with textiles and clothing often being more valuable than land & furniture property.
View inside the cuff~ entire coat is lined in taupe silke
This design of silk is referred to as 'bizarre', due to the large foliate design of the weaving
Entirely stitched by hand, one wishes they could see who originally laid these fine stitches
Back view showing eyelets for lacing~ original laces have vanished. I hope you enjoy a peek at this very rare little work of art.

4 comments:

SweetAnnee said...

oh how lovely
must have been a young boy
from a family of "means"
Thanks for sharing , tis delightful!
Deena

Lorraine said...

How wonderful!! Something like that could never be worn in this day and age....it is truly delightful!!:o)

Lana said...

wow..... I'm speechless.

let me wipe the drool off the keyboard, lol!

Barbara said...

Tooooooooooo Cooooooooooooool!!!!!
Mom