Pair of pockets
Museum no. T.208&A-1970
These two pieces of silk embroidery on linen represent a pair of unfinished pockets. They show that the embroidery was done first, before cutting out and sewing up. The lack of space for an opening in the embroidery indicates that these were probably intended to be the backs of a pair of pockets. This is somewhat unusual, as most pocket backs were left plain.
The abstract pattern is called 'vermicelli' because it resembles worm trails. It is also found on early 18th century bedcovers and quilts, particularly worked in yellow silk. This choice of colour imitates imported Indian embroideries, which preferred the natural yellow shade of tussar silk found in Bengal. The use of backstitch can also be attributed to the influence of Indian needlework.