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This is a detail from the upper part of a pair of trousers. The tight gathers, which resemble ripples on a sandy beach after the tide has retreated, are incredibly beautiful. As you look at them they seem to shift in and out of focus, and the whole seems to shimmer like a heat haze. These are simple gathers but the effect of so many, so close together, in strong, thick linen is fascinating.

On the inside of the garment it is possible to see eight lines of linen stitches that hold the gathers together and create the slight stepped effect. The stitches at the top, nearest to the waistband, are tight and close together. Those towards the bottom are very slightly looser, allowing a little movement and presumably letting the trousers fit more comfortably around the hips. This was a part of the wedding outfit worn by a fisherman who, according to the man who sold it to the Museum, was later drowned at sea.

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  • Title: Breeches
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1815/1824
  • Location: Brittany
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 24.75 in, Width: 15 in at the top, Width: 29.5 in max.
  • Medium: Woven linen

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