The fabric of this shimmering waistcoat incorporates a warp of gold thread into its ground weave of silk; its contemporary name was tissue. A pattern of swags, bows and floral sprays in silver-gilt spangles (sequins) and threads is embroidered over the golden material. Red and green spangles and red foil (enamelled copper or silver) enliven the design. The lightness of the pattern and use of the swag motif conform to the new aesthetic of the Neo-classical style. At the same time, the floral elements and curvilinear arrangement are features of earlier Rococo design.

This waistcoat was most likely to have been worn at court. Similar fabric and embroidery can be seen on the waistcoat worn by Captain William Wade in his portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of 1771.


  • Title: Waistcoat
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1780/1789
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs Phoebe Timpson
  • Medium: Silk, silver gilt thread and spangles, enamel, silk thread; hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

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