England; 1700-1800
Silk, metal, velvet, metallic thread
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David H. Stockwell 1966.0154 

Purse or Reticule 
England; 1700-1800 
Silk, steel, taffeta, metallic thread
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David H. Stockwell 1966.0157 

These small bags, sometimes called reticules, are exquisitely embroidered in silk and metallic thread. Take a close look at the one on the left. The edges of the bag interrupt the design, indicating that this piece most likely had an earlier life. The unfinished drawstring and the silk velvet, which might date around a century later than the embroidery, also suggest that the square purse might have begun as a decorative picture or a piece of clothing that was then made into a bag. The smaller, triangular bag has a metal hinge that most likely dates much later than the original embroidery. Both pieces of embroidered fabric were probably preserved and re-worked because of the expensive gilded metal threads and beautiful embroidery.