18th Century Men’s Shirts

  • National Museums Scotland K.1997.1115 B, “Knee-length shirt of brown wool, opening to the waist fastened with eleven cloth buttons, one of a collection of finds from a body discovered in a bog on Arnish Moor, Lewis: Scottish, early 18th century”
    From the same collection of finds: a jacket (K.1997.1115 A), a knit bonnet (K.1997.1115 F), and a pair of cloth stockings (K.1997.1115 D & K.1997.1115 E).
  • Rhode Island Historical Society 1971.11.3, c. 1700-1750; “Cream, large shirt, sleeves gathered at cuffs, open at neck and front with 5.25" ruffle. Lower right side in brown cross stitch "AU".”
  • 18th century men’s shirt made in France, coarse linen
  • V&A T.246-1931, linen, United Kingdom, second half of the 18th century
  • A New England Shirt, found in the Perry-Thrasher House, in Rehoboth, Massachusetts; made of white cotton muslin, possibly a boy’s size
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1974-268, handspun linen with mother of pearl buttons, America or England, 1775-1790, remodeled 1810-1820 (cuffs and collar replaced)
  • Met 2006.132, America, c. 1775-1790
  • Met 2006.133, America, c. 1775-1790
  • Met C.I.41.146.5, America, 18th century
  • V&A T.360-1984, Britain, c. 1775-1800; “A man's shirt of fine linen, composed of squares and triangles, very finely sewn with high collar fastened with 3 dorset buttons. Each cuff has eyelet holes for tapes or cufflinks. The sleeve has been pleated during the ironing process. Cross-stitched initials.”
  • Met 2009.300.62, French, c. 1780; “This nicely finished example of a late 18th-century men's shirt shows the typical cut of the period. Gussets below the arm were used to allow freedom of movement while the gusset on the shoulder assisted with fit, allowing the fabric to not pull tightly through the neck and chest. The unique piecing on this shirt approximates the shape of the body and allows for more fullness at the front without adding bulk at the waist.”
  • Western Reserve Historical Society L2015.1.2, American or European, late 18th century
  • Kerry Taylor Auctions Lot 41, a fine linen gentleman's shirt, 18th century
  • Shirt of Col. William Ledyard, worn in 1781
  • MRAH, a sleeve and gusset, c. 1790
  • Winterthur 1967.1478, England, c. 1790-1825; see also A Beautiful (and Romantic) 18th c. Man's Shirt from "The Diligent Needle" Exhibition
  • GNM T4053, a man's shirt, end of the 18th century
  • Met C.I.46.82.10, American or European, c. 1795-1800
  • Met C.I.46.82.11, American or European, c. 1795-1800
  • Met C.I.46.82.12, American or European, c. 1795-1800
  • Newport Historical Society 56.10 (date unknown)
  • BATMC II.02.3, linen, c. 1798-1802
  • MRAH, linen, 18th or 19th century
  • RISD 43.386, American, late 18th century; linen plain weave with cotton ruffle
  • MFA 99.664.8, linen, America, early 19th century; “Shirt with buttoning fold-down collar and lawn ruffle around front opening, re-inforced shoulders, sleeves gathered around arm holes, single shell button on each cuff (would have been folded back when worn), gussets under arms and at side slits”
  • NMM UNI0081, cotton and linen, 1807; “an example of the type of non-regulation garment that was worn with uniform. It is a rare survival, and illustrates the cut and style that was fashionable in the early 18th century. The shirt features a high collar, which fastens with two Dorset buttons. A stock would have been worn around the neck so that only the edges of the collar were visible. The construction of the shirt is quite full, particularly the sleeves which are pleated. This would enable the wearer to fit into the relatively tight-armed coats of the period.”
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1992-226, linen, c. 1800-1820; “Small boy's shirt of white tabby linen. Shirt has turn-down collar fastened with one thread button at center front and trimmed with back-stitch top stitching, a 7" long front opening hemmed and edged with needlework picot and needle lace filling to reinforce bottom of slit. Long sleeves gathered at top of sleeve and gathered into 7/8" cuffs edged with picot, top stitched with back stitching and fastened with one thread button. Underarm sleeve gussets of coarser tabby linen. Body of shirt has seam and top stitching at top of shoulders, vents on either side of lower body, and narrow rolled hems.”
  • PVMA 1921.10.01, linen, Massachusetts, c. 1820