Pockets in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in resources by Editor on March 24, 2011

Pockets of History
A Database Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the University of Southampton

Pair of embroidered pockets, mid-eighteenth century, (Halifax: Bankfield Museum)

It’s a commonplace, by now, but one of the remarkable things about the virtual world is the way one bit of familiar terrain quickly leads to who new sites. In an interesting enough posting at The Art History Newsletter, Jeremy Miller provides cases of peer-reviewed online journals and asks how they will come to fit into the established body of scholarly venues. One of the examples he cites is Worn Through, which addresses “apparel from an academic perspective.” After a small bit of exploring, I was impressed with the credentials of the contributors and the site’s two interns (an idea for Enfilade?), though I saw little evidence of peer-reviewed articles. Regardless, it is a fascinating site for anyone interested in
serious engagement with fashion and clothing.

More to the point for Enfilade readers, Heather Vaughan in a posting from November of 2009 addresses eighteenth-century clothing, including then current exhibitions related to the topic. Toward the end of the posting, she notes that “the University of Southampton has put together a database  of 17th-20th century tie-on pockets. The collection not only includes beautifully embroidered pockets, but also historic fashion dolls (whose costumes included pockets).” And what a wonderful database it is! Here’s the beginning of the description from the Southampton site itself:

The Pockets of History collection contains new digital photographs of over three hundred tie-on pockets of the 1700 and 1800s, with overviews and close-ups of details. The photographs come from the first survey ever made of women’s tie-on pockets surviving in Britain. Very few have been photographed before.

In addition to example of pockets, there are various supporting images that picture pockets. In addition, Barbara Burman and Seth Denbo supply a “History of Tie-on Pockets” (PDF). The homepage for the project is available here»