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Elizabethan Embroidered Coif

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA) houses an unassembled coif that dates to the late sixteenth century. It is made from a length of linen that has been embroidered with silk and gilt thread. In order to assemble the coif it would have been folded in half vertically, and then stitched around the edges, but leaving the front edges unstitched (open). The coif would have been secured with a drawstring along the bottom edge.

The coif has been decorated with a scrolling vine motif that encloses stylised flowers of various types, including carnations and roses, as well as butterflies and caterpillars. The stitches used for the embroidery include detached buttonhole stitch, chain stitch, twisted chain stitch, plait stitch, outline stitch, running stitch, as well as various knots (including bullion knot) and couching. In addition, small gilt spangles were sewn onto the designs at irregular intervals.

The image below indicates the constructional details of the Elizabethan coif.









See also the TRC Needles entry on an embroidered linen coif housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art online catalogue (retrieved 20th June 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 21 May 2017 15:59