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Archery coat

Unknown1830/1850

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The buttons on this coat are engraved with an arrow. They show that the wearer belonged to the Walton Le Dale archery club, Lancashire. The coat is cut in the style of court dress, which suggests that it was worn for ceremonial events.

During the late 18th and early 19th century there was a revival of archery in Britain. The numbers of societies rapidly increased and with them the regulations governing dress. Many publications offered advice. The Bijou Book of Out-Door Amusements stated: 'The dress of the archer varies in different clubs ... For gentlemen, nothing is better than a green cloth coat with gilt buttons, having the club device upon them.'

For shooting, a green jacket was recommended. Green is traditionally associated with archery, supposedly originating from medieval foresters and huntsmen who wore it as a form of camouflage. As well as headwear, breeches, boots and equipment, men often had to invest in outfits for different occasions. Archery could be a costly sport, especially as fines could be imposed for not wearing the prescribed uniform.

The coat was acquired with a collection of costume worn by members of the Lowndes family, formerly of Leahall, Chesterfield, and the Gorst family of Chester.

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  • Title: Archery coat
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1830/1850
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 1.24 kg, Length: 43 in
  • Provenance: Part of the Gorst collection, given by Mrs Katherine Rachael Thomas
  • Medium: Broadcloth, gilt brass

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