England; ca. 1825
Silk, metallic thread, metal
Gift of Mrs. Cazenove G. Lee 1968.0329
This “miser bag,” a long, thin purse that could be folded in half to keep it secure, was so called because of its small openings that made it hard to extract coins. This example is worked in silk yarn in a lace pattern. The opening is edged in gold-colored, metal-wrapped thread, as is part of the tassel. The base is embroidered in silk, silver-, and gold-plated passing threads. The use of this many plated threads in the nineteenth century is unusual, as is the design for this long purse, which seems to combine elements of early purse/reticule patterns with the newly popular string purses.
The owner of this purse could have been a man or woman. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, men frequently displayed elaborate floral embroidery on clothing and other personal items. They also carried bags like this one.