In the 18th century, fancy needlework represented a well-schooled woman's contribution to the beauty of family possessions. Women stitched stunning chair covers, bed furnishings, floor rugs, fancy embroidered pictures, women's pockets and pocket books which were most often carried by men. These envelope-shaped pocketbooks or wallets were used to carry money as well important documents which today, we would keep in a safe or a safe deposit box. Since normal households did not have access to safes, this allowed men to carry these documents on their person so they were safe from fire or theft. When women carried these envelope-shaped pocketbooks, they were most often used to carry jewelry.
Today I am listing 3 of these 18th century American needlework wallets. The first, offered here, is Irish Stitched in wool over canvas in muted shades of white, purple, green, blues, ecru, and salmon. The pattern is often called Bargello, but this name is modern and would not have been used in the period. It is lined with glazed wool, has two interior compartments and is edged with rose-colored twill tape. It measures 4 1/2" x 7 1/4" and, as you can see in the numerous photos I've provided, has a moderate amount of thread loss and a few holes to the interior. This and the two other pocket books that I'm listing were found stuffed inside a stenciled papier mâché purse in the upstairs ball room of the Silas Hastings Tavern in Boylestown, Massachusetts. This is a lovely early pocketbook to complete a period vignette in your home....just lay it on a table with a period candlestick, a pair of spectacles and a book and you are set! The last photo shows all three wallets being listed today.
(#5255) Sale Pending