The sleeveless waistcoat with high stand-up collar originated around 1775 and was shortened in the 1780s to adapt to the later fashion. This example demonstrated the refined embroidery designs and artistic implementation practiced in the French textile centres of Lyon and Paris. The central motif, a lion resting in his cave, is distributed equally between waistcoat tails and pocket flaps. During the course of alterations great care was taken to ensure that the motif remained preserved in its entirety, while the small carrot-like patterns on the frontal portions and the vine edgings were overstitched when the piece was shortened. It is conceivable that the high collar with the shortened parts was added later. The waistcoat closes with eleven small, embroidered buttons. Its vented back is made of cotton and is fixed with two binding ribbons. Waistcoats were unique and the demand for ever-new embroidery patterns was immense. The design for this embroidery pattern has been preserved and is located in the Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs in Lyon.


  • Title: Men's Waistcoat - Gilet
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1775 - 1790
  • Stylistic point of origin: France
  • Rights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Stephan Klonk │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Christine Waidenschlager
  • Provenance: 2003 Kamer/Ruf collection; 1998 Art trade, Paris, Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Length: Fl./bl. 52 cm
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018417
  • Type: Waistcoat
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kunstgewerbemuseum/home.html
  • Medium: Rib-woven cream silk, embroidered in silk painting, pastel toned figurative and floral motifs, back: plain woven cream cotton, two tie bands

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