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Pockets in the V&A collection

Pockets could be worn singly or in pairs. Some were very decorative, embellished with embroidery and ribbons. Others were quite plain.

What do they tell us?

Surviving examples of historical pockets are very important for showing us their physical characteristics. Without these we wouldn't be able to say what they were made of, how they were decorated and how they were sewn. By searching through the pockets from the V&A's collections you can look at the changes over time in the appearance, size and shape. The embroidery styles and designs are very important. Comparisons can be made between not just the pockets themselves, but also other embroidered textiles and dress of the same decade.

What can't they tell us?

It is difficult to tell what people carried in their pockets from the surviving examples, although an ink spot on one does give us a clue. Nor do we know what people thought about their pockets. For this type of information, what people say about pockets is very helpful.

We can't tell exactly where pockets were worn in relation to other garments or whether they were tied in front or behind. For this information, pictures can be a better source of information.

 

Pockets in paintings

Each of the paintings below contains an image of a pocket.

William Frederick Witherington, 'The Hop Garland', 1834. Museum no. FA.233
William Frederick Witherington, 'The Hop Garland', 1834. Museum no. FA.233
David Wilkie, 'The Refusal', 1814. Museum no. FA. 266
David Wilkie, 'The Refusal', 1814. Museum no. FA. 266
Thomas Unwins, 'Haymakers at Dinner', England, 1840s. Museum no. 3027-1876
Thomas Unwins, 'Haymakers at Dinner', England, 1840s. Museum no. 3027-1876
Edwin Landseer, 'The Drover’s Departure', 1851. Museum no. FA.88
Edwin Landseer, 'The Drover’s Departure', 1851. Museum no. FA.88

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William Morris 'Broche' Pocket Square

William Morris 'Broche' Pocket Square

A perfect gift. William Morris's 'Broche' pattern, realised on this smart pocket square.   100% Silk, dry clean only.…

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Strawberry Thief Free iPad Game

Strawberry Thief by BAFTA award winning games designer Sophia George is a playful celebration of the work of Victorian designer William Morris. Uncover the famous Arts and Crafts design by drawing on your screen with your finger and watch your iPad transform from blank paper to an animated masterpiece.

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Event - Aberdeen Art Gallery at the Fleming Collection: Northern Lights

Mon 02 November 2015 10:00–11:30

This autumn the Fleming Collection is exhibiting a selection of works from Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall, providing a rare opportunity to see them in London.

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