17th Century Coif Fragment Forehead Cloth English 1600s Rare
We are thrilled to be able to offer our 17th century textile and costume collector's the chance to own a beautifully framed and very desirable extant fragment of a circa 1600, English polychrome embroidered Coif ( head covering) or Forehead Cloth. Yes...it is but a fragment (sadly it was common practice during the 19th century to either cut down Coifs for framing or re-make them into cushions etc !!!) How often can one find the opportunity to own a piece of a 400 year old lady's costume???
This exceptional Coif was hand embroidered during the reign of James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), who also inherited the crown in 1603 as James 1 of England. This era follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. This is history in one's hand from a time just prior to the Pilgrim fathers and the sailing of the Mayflower to America.
Our rare little fragment displays stunning rinceau or coiling stem pattern with the floral and fruiting tendril motifs including Borage and Heartease ( Pansy), grapes or peapods. All of these symbolic motifs are similar to those found on contemporary embroidered jackets/ waistcoats and gent's nightcaps( see the Margaret Clayton Plimoth Plantation Jacket) and earlier sweet bags of the Elizabethan period.
The actual fragment measures approx 4" by 3.5, it is unlined and has been tacked with thread by its corners to acid free tissue. The colors are not too faded at all; you can still see hints of the original vibrancy. Worked upon plain weave undyed linen in twisted chain stitch and detached needlepoint stitch. The fragment is framed in its original Georgian, 7.5" by 6.5" lemon gilt frame with eglomise glass mount.....it is delicious.
See similar examples of complete Coifs and waistcoats/ jackets at Fashion Museum, Bath, The Burrell Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, The Met, MFA Boston See the painting by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger of Margaret Clayton wearing her rinceau embroidered waistcoat.
This is a rare and tangible connection to the past, please see our sweet bag fragment and small pear purse from similar periods.
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