This is a Waistcoat. It is dated ca. 1790 and we acquired it in 1962. Its medium is silk embroidery on silk foundation, linen back and its technique is embroidered in satin, stem and knot stitches on plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.
This waistcoat is teeming with insect life. Small butterflies float between floral sprigs, blue dragonflies adorn the pocket flaps, furry caterpillars crawl along branches, and menacing-looking stag beetles take flight along the bottom edge. In her memoir, author Lady Elizabeth Craven recalled a visit to Lyon in 1785, where she reacted in horror to a new waistcoat design with "great sprawling butterflies." Also notable was the shrug of the salesman who remarked that "novelty was everything."
This object was
Richard Cranch Greenleaf (American, 1887–1961).
It is credited
Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 60 × 42.2 cm (23 5/8 × 16 5/8 in.)
Cite this object as
Waistcoat (France); silk embroidery on silk foundation, linen back; H x W x D: 60 × 42.2 cm (23 5/8 × 16 5/8 in.); Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf; 1962-54-43
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Embroidered and Embellished.