The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Jacobeans loved imitating natural forms in their decorative arts and the shape of this purse resembles a bunch of grapes. Each grape was worked in the colours of blue, red, green or brown. A vine leaf has been worked at the top in shades of green.

The three-dimensional quality of the embroidery is achieved through the use of padding under detached buttonhole stitch. The threads over each grape are worked independently of the fabric below and attached only around the edges.

The delicate embroidery and small size of the bag suggest that it was probably intended to hold a keepsake or to wrap a gift of money, rather than everyday monetary use.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Bag
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1600/1650
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 8.3 cm bag approx., Width: 5 cm bag approx., Length: 3 in, Width: 2 in
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs P. J. Swann
  • Medium: Embroidered silk with silk thread, lined with silk, hand-sewn, hand-embroidered, hand-plaited

Additional Items