A very pretty, pocket sewing Hussif (a variation of the word Housewife) from the first quarter of the 19th century, circa 1800 to 1825. Sewing wallets such as this were invaluable accessories for ladies to keep either in their pocket or work bag. One would never know when one might need to make a running repair to a garment. Also, most ladies of a certain social standing spent many an hour sewing and netting. In public she would want to show off her case for storing her needles, threads, shuttles or scissors. One can imagine this ornate example with its silver bobbin lace, colored foil motifs and pretty mirrors shining by candlelight and gaining the attention from fellow needleworkers.
See identical examples held by The Philadelphia Museum of Art Accession Number:1910-178 and The Art Institute of Chicago, Reference Number 1930.18
Of course hussifs were also compulsory equipment for the military and the navy during the 18th and 19th century. The soldiers and sailors had to be able to repair their kit, clothing and equipment when in active service. They also used their free time to sew and make folk art mementos for their loved ones. Hussifs such as ours are often wrongly referred to as a sailor's Hussif. We really cannot imagine that any sailor would have access to such silk, silver lace edging, glass bugle beads and mirrors. Military hussifs were much plainer and were made of wool, felt, cotton etc all everyday fabrics that were to hand. A silk decorated hussif would be FAR too ornate to use below decks in the company of other men!!
This green silk Hussif with blue lining consists of a top arched flap depicting a basket of flowers with four further graduated pockets below, three mounted with mirrors and terminating with a pin cushion. We see silver metal bobbin lace to all edges. Most of the pockets are decorated with motifs ornamented with a combination of glass beads, colored foil, silk and or metal springs. Love heart mirror and bugle beads all add to the appeal. We adore the pink colored foil anchor - the owner perhaps a patriotic relative at a time of great military unrest in Europe. Perhaps a husband, brother or son was a naval officer, although she cannot join the war she can show her patriotism in her sewing.
Size: Folded 4.5" (11 cm) by 2.5" (6.5 cm) by 1.5" (4 cm). Unfolded 14" (36 cm) long.
Condition: FAIR - stable but with the expected signs of wear and perishing to the delicate silk, found to both the interior and exterior (please STUDY our many images as they form a vital part of the description). Please do not expect perfection here, some silk has shredded away with age, a little grubby to the exterior and some of the sprung metal decoration is loose. The love heart mirror has wonderful age oxidization and has slipped a little from its original position.
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Antique Georgian Silk Hussif, Sewing Roll, Needlecase, Wallet, Sailors Huswif, Circa 1810 AF
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