18th Century Pocketbooks

See also purses and pockets.

Flame stitch (aka bargello, Irish stitch)

Crewelwork

Other canvaswork, including cross stitch and/or tent stitch

Queen stitch/rococo stitch

  • Winterthur 1955.0003.009, embroidered by Mary Wright Alsop of Middletown, Connecticut, in 1758
  • Winterthur 1955.0003.004 (“Mary • Alsop • 1774”), Middletown, Connecticut
  • MFA 40.572, unfinished pocketbook, America, late 18th century
  • Met 2009.300.1744, with a pattern of strawberries within diamonds, America, fourth quarter of the 18th century
  • MFA 30.115, with initials 'AR' and 'SA', 18th-19th century
  • MFA 29.1036, an embroidery fragment with strawberries and zig-zags, roughly the shape of a pocketbook, America, 18th-19th century
  • Smithsonian Textile Collection (”Alexander Alexad”) stitched by Maria Connor Alexander

Sablé beadwork

Other styles

  • MFA 43.1110, tapestry-woven design with angels flanking arms of Pope Benedict XIII, Italy, 1724-1730
  • MFA 43.1112, silk with fruit and floral design in satin stitch and laid & couched work in silk threads , France or England, 1725-1775
  • Winterthur 1958.2052, North America, c. 1740-1780
  • V&A CIRC.238-1926, silk embroidered with floral designs in colored silks, Britain, c. 1750-1775
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1990-3, embroidered with colored silks, silver gilt threads, bullion, and plate, made in Constantinople in 1749
  • MFA 43.1118, silk embroidered with silk and metallic threads in a floral design, made in Constantinople for the European market, 1755
  • P4A D9791252 (“LG”), floral design, Philadelphia, c. 1760
  • Crazy-quilt pocketbook, c. 1760
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1952-341, pocketbook with gold clasp, fitted with implements, made in England, c. 1760-1780; “Envelope pocketbook of ivory silk satin quilted with chain stitches in a diamond pattern with meandering vines across top and bottom folds. Pocketbook is fastened with gold, stone, and enamel clasps on the outside and on the interior shaped flap. The exterior clasp has three clear stones; the interior clasp had male and female profile heads in classical manner. The interior is lined with carnation pink silk, plain-woven. Two interior compartments, one with shaped flap and clasp. A gusseted compartment has slots for holding an ivory tablet consisting of two pivoting leaves, a comb, a lead holder with gold cap and coral-colored stone seal end, and two knives.”
  • English silk brocade pocketbook c. 1770 made from silk from c. 1730-1740. “Measuring 5 7/8" (15 cm) by 3 5/8" (9 cm). Our example is of single compartment construction. The outer silk brocade fabric woven in the silk weaving district of London. Because of the tiny red fruit back left, we did wonder if it could be an Anna Maria Garthwaite design. The silk fabric has a ribbed effect ground with a supplementary white lace pattern and of course a large, bright brocaded flower spray with tied blue and yellow ribbon design to the rear. The front shows a large white peony type flower with pink rose to its right and smaller three flower grouping to its left … If you look to the centre edge of the flap, you will see the remains of a ribbon tie; this would have wrapped around the pocketbook to keep it closed. The original crimson lining is very interesting because it consists of six horizontal sections of the same silk that has been minutely stitched together. This would suggest that at the time of construction silk was expensive and therefore the lining was made up from left over scraps from another project or indeed, the outer silk brocade and lining were perhaps salvaged from an earlier garment (this would fit with our Garthwaite theory as her designs were produced around the 1730s). The original silk sides to the compartment are in excellent condition...such a rarity for pocketbooks of this age. The under structure of this pocketbook is of vellum. Two rectangular sheets can be felt under the front and back.”
  • MFA 43.1114, taffeta embroidered with a love-poem in silk, France, 1775-1800
  • MFA 43.1116, white silk satin with silk and metal-thread embroidery, inscribed “SOU / VENIR,” France or England, 1775-1800
  • PMA 1930-30-26, wool damask with embroidery, America
  • Meg Andrews 6557, a French pocketbook belonging to Mary Hope Wallace, 1780s; “front with silver clasp chased with a fleur de lys, the ground very finely tapestry woven with a Chinese style pagoda and buildings to one side of the clasp, a tree to the other, the background in gold basketweave effect, the back with a bridge, river and trees, the narrow base with two silver coloured studs and a woven geometric pattern, the inside opens to reveal silk satin lining, the note book of thick hand made paper sheets edged with gold, many with pencilled hand written English, the front page with Rue St Anne, No 78 Paris. The inner pages have a poem and more writing, some in French, a pocket behind the paper”
  • MFA 43.1115, white silk embroidered in silk, France, 1780-1795
  • MFA 43.1117, white silk embroidered in silk, France or England, 1780-1800
  • MFA 43.1113, blue silk with appliquéd embroidered medallions, France, late 18th century
  • Manchester 1929.306, France; “Woven in blue silk and silver thread. Pattern coventional Renaissance ornament.”
  • Manchester 1929.305, France; “Woven in silver and gold thread and coloured silks. Pattern; flowers, scrollwork and moths.”
  • RISD 1988.082.12, French, late 18th century