COLLECTION: Costume Accessories

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Mitt

Ca. 1700
Origin: Europe, probably Holland or England
Length: 14"; Width (gauntlet when flat): 6"
Linen Thread (Identified by Microscope)
Gift of Mrs. Cora Ginsburg
Acc. No. 1991-555,1
Woman's mitts, or fingerless gloves, made of fand knitted, fine, white linen. A portion of the arm opening and the area over the fingers and thumb has been knitted in an open work geometric scale pattern resembling lace. The edges are finished with a lace-like scalloped border. The mitts have a separate thumb open at the tip, but no fingers. A lace-like flap attached at the underside of the hand portion creates a pocket so the fingers could be covered or left free. On either side of the thumb is knitted a zig-zag pattern running along the 'seam' where the thumb meets the palm. An unidentified pattern or insignia is knitted onto the back of each hand.

Label:Gloves without fingers, called mitts, allowed women to do needlework or other hand crafts while still keeping their fingers free for work and their arms covered.
Provenance:Cora Ginsburg, New York
Accompanying the mittens was a clipping and note that states "...a pair of laced gloves, lent by G. Martin, Esq. said to have belonged to Mary Queen of Scots. They were the property of the present owner's great-grandmother, the wife of John, third Duke of Athole, and were bequeathed by the Duchess to her daughter, the Lady Mary Murray, afterwards Lady Mary Martin. They were originally wrapped in a very old piece of paper, inscribed as follows: "Mary Queen of Scots, gloves." "Sent Cottholl d'Arangue, by Mr. Young, jeweller, on Ludgate Hill."..."
Hand written beneath the clipping is a note stating, "They are considered, both by experts at teh Victoria and Albert and the London museum, to be of the period of William and Mary."