Glistening silver embroidery decorates the pocket flap of this blue silk waistcoat dating from the 1740s. Silver thread, purl (metal thread wound into a short coil), strip and spangles (sequins) comprise the decoration which covers the pocket flaps and the front and lower edges of the waistcoat. Each pocket flap has a button stitched on both corners and four sewn below. All are decorative and there are no buttonholes.
This waistcoat could have formed part of a wedding ensemble, as the combination of blue and silver was fashionable for the bridegroom in the 18th century. In Samuel Richardson’s novel, Pamela (1741), Mr B. wears such a waistcoat to his wedding to Pamela. Similarly, the hero of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Greaves, by Tobias Smollet (1760) marries in a ‘white coat and blue sattin vest, both embroidered with silver’.