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Object Timeline

-0001

1962

  • We acquired this object.

2015

2019

2021

  • You found it!

Waistcoat (France), ca. 1790

This is a Waistcoat. It is dated ca. 1790 and we acquired it in 1962. Its medium is silk embroidery on silk foundation, linen back and its technique is embroidered in satin, stem and knot stitches on plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.



This waistcoat is teeming with insect life. Small butterflies float between floral sprigs, blue dragonflies adorn the pocket flaps, furry caterpillars crawl along branches, and menacing-looking stag beetles take flight along the bottom edge. In her memoir, author Lady Elizabeth Craven recalled a visit to Lyon in 1785, where she reacted in horror to a new waistcoat design with "great sprawling butterflies." Also notable was the shrug of the salesman who remarked that "novelty was everything."

This object was bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf (American, 1887–1961). It is credited Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf.

  • Necklace Necklace, 2015
  • clear and mirrored arcylic, flower petals, leaves, insects, silver, pigment.
  • The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
  • 2016-34-61

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 60 × 42.2 cm (23 5/8 × 16 5/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Waistcoat (France), ca. 1790; silk embroidery on silk foundation, linen back; H x W x D: 60 × 42.2 cm (23 5/8 × 16 5/8 in.); Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf; 1962-54-43

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Embroidered and Embellished.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-4.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445257/ |title=Waistcoat (France), ca. 1790 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 December 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>