The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

In the early 19th century gloves were an indispensible accessory for women. They were worn for day and evening wear. Wealthy women owned many pairs suited to different occasions and carefully chosen to match particular outfits. Strict rules applied to the wearing of gloves. A woman would be considered undressed if she left the house ungloved and it was customary, for instance, to keep gloves on in church, at the theatre and at balls but to remove them before dining. Gloves soon became soiled, and dirty or worn gloves were a sign of slovenliness and poverty. While the wealthy might only wear a pair of pale coloured gloves once, most women had to devote time and effort to cleaning and repairing their gloves. The difficulties they encountered are reflected in the frequent advice given on glove care in contemporary women's magazines and household manuals.

The bright yellow elbow-length evening glove shown in this image was hand-sewn with minute stitches using white silk thread. The same thread was used for a double line of decorative stitching around the base of the thumb and to work the double lines of stitching for the long 'points' on the back of the glove. Yellow was a very fashionable colour for gloves at the begining of the 19th century. The leather of this glove is extremely fine and supple and would easily have stretched to allow for the glove to be put on and carefully eased onto the fingers and up the arm.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Glove
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1820/1839
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 48.5 cm, Width: 9.5 cm across palm
  • Medium: Kid leather, hand-sewn with silk thread


Translate with Google