purse / bag
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Purse, woven silk with metal thread throughout, with the same design on each side of five flowers, the petals executed in relief in a separate piece of fabric: top left: borage; top right: carnation (or gilly flower); centre: marigold; botton left: rose; botton right: cornflower.
- Made in: England
- (Europe,British Isles,England)
- Height: 100 millimetres
- Width: 105 millimetres
Known as sweet bags, to contain sweet-smelling substances to freshen the air, such as lavender, or comfits (information from Clare Browne, V&A, 8.01.07). See also Jacqui Carey, 'Sweet Bags. An Investigation into 16th and 17th century Needlework', 2010.
See H. Syer Cuming, 'History of Purses', in 'Journal of the British Archaeological Association', 1858, p. 139 and Pl.9, fig 2, where this purse is illustrated and described as owned by Mr C. Lynch, member of the Association. The full text reads as follows:
'From our associate, Mr. C. Lynch, we receive a truly splendid purse, which ..... is still undoubetdly a relic of the sixteenth century. It is if cloth of silver, the centre and four corners being decorated with roses and other flowers in embossed embroidery, with foot-stalks of gold plat. Both sides are alike; and at the angles and middle of the bottom are little tassels of pink silk, and it is lined throughout with pink lutestring. Through perforations in the upper edge passes a cord to draw the mounth of the purse together, and which cord has ovate terminations, covered with cloth of silver embroidered in coloured silks, with tassels of plaited silk and silver thread at their ends. The suspending loop is about eleven inches in lengt, and consists of a narrow tape of plaited pink silk and silver thread. When open, this purse is about three and a quarter inches in depth, and rather above four inches in width.' (J. Rudoe, 9 Jan 2007)
Purchased by the Trustees of the Christy Collection.
Prehistory and Europe
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Object reference number: MCN26227
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