Gloves served several purposes in early 17th-century England. Popular as presents, many were solely decorative, to display the wealth and status of their owner. They were worn in the hat or belt, as well as carried in the hand. Unlike a pale leather glove, linen gloves could be laundered, so it is likely that this glove was worn upon occasion.
The glove is decorated with two types of lace: cutwork and bobbin lace. Cutwork is the earliest form of needle lace. It is based on a woven ground, usually linen, from which areas have been cut away, in this case to decorate the wrist and knuckle areas of the glove. Elaborate cutwork was an important decoration on fashionable dress for both men and women from about 1570 to 1620.
Lacemaking was developing in England in this period in response to the growth in personal wealth and to changes in fashionable dress. By 1600, bobbin lace, which was constructed through the plaiting or twisting together of multiple threads, was being made domestically throughout the country and professional centres had been established in London, the West Country and the Midlands.