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Margaret Laton's embroidered jacket

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Title: Margaret Laton's embroidered jacket  
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Subject: English embroidery, 1600–50 in Western European fashion, Parisian stitch, Embroiderers' Guild, Mary Elizabeth Turner
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Margaret Laton's embroidered jacket

Jacket and portrait of Margaret Laton, about 1610 V&A Museum no. T.228-1994

Margaret Laton's jacket is a surviving example of English Jacobean embroidery, significant because it appears in a portrait which has also survived. The jacket was originally owned and worn by Margaret Laton (1579–1641), wife of Francis Laton (1577–1661) who was one of the Yeomen of the Jewel House during the reigns of James I, Charles I and, briefly, Charles II. Embroidered linen jackets were worn as informal dress, and were particularly popular among wealthy women in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This jacket is exquisitely decorated with flowers, birds and butterflies, embroidered in coloured silks, coiled tendrils of silver-gilt plaited braid stitch and silver-gilt sequins. The edges of the jacket are trimmed with silver and silver-gilt bobbin lace and silver-gilt spangles.

This jacket appears in a portrait of Margaret Laton which probably dates from around 1620 and is painted in oils on oak boards. The painter is not known, but the style of portraiture is similar to that of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561?–1635) who was the most fashionable portrait painter of the period.

Both the jacket and the portrait are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.


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