Collection Online

(early 17th century)

linen, silk (thread, lining), gilt-metal (thread), seed pearls
40.0 × 13.6 × 1.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1970
Gallery location
Not on display
A small square purse, or sweete bag, linen ground embroidered with a design of Tudor roses, leaves and coiling stems in coloured silks, gold and silver metallic thread. Linen cord.

This small square purse is typical of bags of the period, sometimes described as ‘sweet bags’ because they held sweet powders to scent clothes and linen. A single plant laden with flowers and leaves fills the surface. These tent-stitched flowers contrast with the background which is worked extravagantly in expensive silver thread using Gobelin stitch. The once-bright gold and silver stems are worked in a variety of plaited braid stitches. One solitary sequin remains, presumably the sole survivor of many others which would have made this bag even more luxurious and glittering.

—text from Exquisite Threads (Apr 2015)