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’.


  • Title: Waistcoat
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1740/1749
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs C. C. Stisted
  • Medium: Silk, linen and possibly horsehair, hand woven and hand sewn, silver

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