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This coif illustrates how many embroidery patterns were applied to linen. From the 16th century the publication of embroidery pattern books published spread new and fashionable designs throughout Europe. These could be transferred onto linen by pricking holes along the outlines, pouncing (dusting with fine black powder), then joining the dots with a fine brush and black ink. Professional embroiderers and artists were sometimes hired to draw new patterns freehand.

By the early 17th century, embroidery designs were being printed directly onto linen, as seen in this example. Although almost all worn away now, the remnants of speckling stitch in black silk, silver thread and spangles can still be seen outlining the printed design.

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  • Title: Coif (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1600/1629
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 40.3 cm overall, approx, Length: 25.5 cm overall, approx
  • Medium: Linen, silk thread, silver, ink; printed and hand-embroidered

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