The most distinctive features of this smock are two large panels of double thickness that extend from the neck opening over the shoulders and over the upper arms, providing a little extra warmth and protection and to encouraging rain to run off rather than soak through to the body. The outer edge of each panel was divided into bands and every alternate one was embroidered with a zigzagging line. The fabric was then folded and stitched so that the embroidered bands overlap the plain ones, forming a heavy and attractive layered border. Three pearl buttons attach the panel to the shoulder of the smock.

Without the heavy embroidery this could have been a working garment for an agricultural labourer in southern England. But the extent and elaboration of the decoration suggest it was probably reserved for special occasions. It is made from the same weave of cotton twill that is used to make denim jeans and overalls.


  • Title: Smock
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1850/1900
  • Location: England
  • Provenance: Given by Emma (Charlie) Ehrman
  • Medium: Embroidered cotton with cotton thread

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