Warwickshire in 100 Objects: Man's Shirt

This is a linen shirt embroidered in red silk thread and white linen bobbin lace, dating to between 1600 and 1620. It would have been worn under a man’s woollen or silk jacket or doublet, the white of the shirt and the red embroidery would have been visible at the collar, cuffs and sometimes through fashionable slits in the sleeves.

The shirt was embroidered by hand, with even the seams are elaborately joined with red silk openwork. The main design includes seed heads and pea pods, which were popular motifs in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fine linen and silk were expensive commodities, so this shirt was probably made for a wealthy gentleman in North Warwickshire, possibly from the Hartshill area.

Acquired by Warwickshire Museum with the assistance of the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.