Gloves in the 16th and early 17th centuries were much more than just an accessory to fashionable dress. The wearing or carrying of gloves by either sex was a conspicuous mark of rank and ostentation. They were worn in the hat or belt, as well as carried in the hand. Gloves were popular as gifts and were often given by a young gallant to his favourite mistress. In combat, a glove was thrown down as a gage, or challenge.
The range of motifs on the glove, particularly the types of flowers, mixed with strawberries and birds, gives a good indication of the burgeoning interest in gardens and other natural subjects at the period.
Materials & Making
Gloves required a fine and supple leather. Doeskin and kid were the main types used. Although embroidery was the principal form of decoration for accessories, tapestry was also used. Small tapestry- woven articles, including gloves, were made by professional workshops for direct sale to the public in London shops.
Pair of gloves of white leather with gauntlet tapestry woven in silk and gold on woollen warps. 33 warp threads per in (13 per cm). With a pattern of trees, floral sprigs, strawberries with peacocks, parrots, owl and other birds. Trimmed with metal bobbin lace, vandyked and with spangles.
SMALL TAPESTRY ITEMS
In the early 17th century, small tapestry articles such as book covers, pin cushions, sweet bags and gloves could be bought from London shops. Such items were luxuries since the silk and gold thread was so expensive. These three pieces are decorated with popular motifs of the time, including fruit, flowers and animals. The Bible cover also has scenes of Moses on the front and Jonah and the Whale on the back. [27/03/2003]
Pair of leather gloves tapestry-woven in silks and metal threads, metal bobbin lace, probably made in Sheldon Tapestry Workshops, probably in Warwickshire, 1590-1610