Collection Online

(early 17th century)

linen, silk (thread), gilt-metal (thread, spangles)
86.5 cm (outer circumference) 23.8 cm (height) 22.8 cm (width)
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1977
Gallery location
Not on display
An off white linen coif embroidered with repeating motifs of two varied yellow flowers in yellow silk and gold gilt thread applied in chain stitch and plaited braid. The ground is speckled with metal spangles. Cut in one piece and gathered to shape at the crown. A drawstring passes around the neckline tying under the chin.

Covering the head when both indoors and outside was considered important for modesty and health. While women of all classes wore close-fitting coifs, embroidered versions, either made at home or purchased ready-made, were fashionable among the upper classes between the 1590s and 1620s. This cap is decorated with silver gilt filé and yellow silk floss in a combination of braid, chain, Cretan and double-running stitches. The repeat pattern of three large stylised flowers, including roses and borage, is interspersed with applied metal thread spiders’ webs and once-shiny sequins.

—text from Exquisite Threads (Apr 2015)