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Etiquette in the 18th century required a lady’s hands to be covered at all times outdoors and in mixed company indoors. Gloves and mittens were essential accessories and most aristocratic women owned dozens of pairs. Mittens were popular as they covered the backs of the hands, but left the thumb and fingers free to do needlework or play cards. As an inexpensive alternative to leather, many gloves and mittens were made of silk in a variety of colours to complement gowns and other accessories.

Pair of mittens

Great Britain - Pair of mittens - Silk taffeta, silk thread, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

Mitts, 4th quarter 18th century, possibly British. Leather, silk. Met, 2009.300.6196a, b

Mitts Date: fourth quarter century Culture: possibly British Medium: Leather, silk Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009 Accession Number: b

Pair of mitts, Italy or France, late 18th century. Crimson soft leather, trimmed with cream colored silk braid around hand and thumb. Cream colored taffeta, worn and cracked, lines flap over hand.

Pair of pink LEATHER mitts, Italian or French, or early century - in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston costume collection

Pair of blue leather mitts. Italian or French, 18th or early 19th century - in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston costume collection

Pair of mitts Italian or French, or early century Italy or France Dimensions Length of mitts x width at top: 46 x 16 cm x 6 in.) Medium or Technique Leather, embroidery

Mitts Date: ca. 1770 Culture: British Medium: cotton Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 18 in. (14 x 45.7 cm) Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; H. Randolph Lever Fund, 1967 Accession Number: 2009.300.2130a, b This artwork is not on display

Mitts Date: ca. 1770 Culture: British Medium: cotton Dimensions: 5 x 18 in. x cm) Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 1967 Accession Number: b

Pair of children's mitts  Italian, 18th century  Italy  DIMENSIONS  Overall: 34.5 x 14 x 1.5 cm (13 9/16 x 5 1/2 x 9/16 in.)  MEDIUM OR TECHNIQUE  Silk

Crimson silk with a design of conventionalized flowers and foliage, embroidered with gold thread and spangles, on back of each hand, and around fingers and thumbs.

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