Saturday, June 29, 2013

History's Runway: The Blakemore Velvet Jacket , 1810

Silk Velvet Jacket with Metallic Braid and Embroidery, 1810
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The sleeve of this exceptional velvet jacket features a very special adornment—a tablet-woven braid made from many colors of silk thread.  The various threads form delicate stripes.  The lower  portion of the sleeve has been embroidered with metal thread across the width to form more complex patterns.   Similar metallic threads adorn the rest of the jacket, however these seem unremarkable when compared with the exquisite majesty of the short length of embroidery which decorates each cuff.

When it was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum, this jacket was believed to have been made in North Africa, however further research showed that it was made in Albania.
  This jacket is unusually similar to a jacket and waistcoat which were purchased by the English poet Lord Byron in Tepalene, Albania in 1809.

Made for a man, the jacket is made of red silk velvet with a small round opening for the neck.
  The garment was designed to be worn open at the front as there are no fastenings and no evidence of any ever having been included.

The body of the jacket is lined in red cotton, except for inside the lower portion of the sleeve which is lined with green silk velvet. This bit of green lining would have been visible when the jacket was worn.

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