Monday, 10 November 2014

Extant Early 1800s Regency/Early Victorian Gloves

I lucked out again, and somehow managed to find a pair of early nineteenth century gloves on ebay:-

Early 19th century leather gloves

What caught my eye was the pinking/stamping designs at the hems and the embroidered pattern over the back of the hands:-

Punched and pinked hems 

The embroidery thread here seems to be a type of metallic thread- very narrow and  it almost feels like very fine wire.
The gloves are stitched together on the outside, in minute stitches.
Antique mending along the side of the thumb
Condition :- I think these are in remarkably good condition for their age. One glove had quite extensive repair work (see above image). The hems do have some damage; one of the tips has been torn away, and there are other small tears in the stamp work. Some of the leather has worn away in very small areas, and there are marks here and there, and of course they are a bit grubby!

Length (from tip of pinked triangle to tip of longest finger~ 13 6/8'' (35cms). These finish half way up my forearm.

I have been looking at The Worshipful Company of the Glovers' of London, which is a wonderful source for the history of gloves. Part of their collection is at The Fashion Museum in Bath, which I saw 4 or 5 years ago now. Those on show dated from the 17th century, astounding work.

Despite gloves being a major fashion accessory, I have found very little books devoted to the subject. It seems that this form of decoration, with the pinking and stamping, became popular during the late eighteenth century, and continued until about the 1830s/40s.

One book that I do have solely about gloves is Valerie Cumming's 'Gloves' in The Costume Accessories Series (editor Aileen Ribeiro).  There are 2 images in the book which immediately caught my attention:-

93.Women's gloves, 1825-40 (embroidered with gold or silver thread or polychrome silks)
67. Women's gloves, 1795-1805
The middle glove of the top image has embroidery very strikingly similar to that on my pair, and the lower image shows early examples of the stamped edging along the hems/cuffs.

I was interested to see the printed gloves above. Valerie Cumming writes:-
  "These printed gloves...were produced in Barcelona around the turn of the century, and provided a virtuoso finale to the vogue for printed gloves which appeared in the last decade of the eighteenth century.''

From studying this book it seems that my gloves must be embroidered with the silver thread. It is now a very dark grey in colour.

Taking into account the style, decoration and length of these gloves, I am pretty sure that they are from around the 1830s. Valerie Cumming again:-
  "Day gloves, and mittens, equally popular in the 1830s and the 1840s, were wrist length or slightly longer. The decoration on both day and evening gloves, and the fashionable materials were similar: light-coloured leather...Silk or metal thread embroidery of flowers either formed a concentrated design on the back of the hand or were scattered in springs over the whole back of the glove...Evening gloves often had scalloped edges if made of leather..."

I think that my pair then are a little more interesting, with the embroidery and the pinked and stamped cuffs. A fascinating find!

Naomi x