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Dents Museum

One of the most prized pieces in our collection is shown in the picture - Queen Elizabeth II Coronation glove.  This glove was made by Dents and was worn by Her Royal Highness at her Coronation in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd of June 1953.

Gloves have been worn since the Stone Age, to protect the hands and arms of hunters. The oldest surviving gloves go back more than 3000 years - a pair of linen gloves was found in the tomb of Egyptian King Tutankhamen, who died in 1350 BC.

Since the reign of King George III, Dents has been crafting and creating the world’s finest gloves. The company was founded in 1777, in Worcester, by John Dent.

The Dents Museum was originally established in the previous Dents premises on Fairfield Road in Warminster, in 1986.  The Dents Museum collection includes many examples of gloves from the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, right through to the present day. In addition, we have a collection of antique specialised sewing machines, glove making tools, and a wealth of photographs and documents dating back to the 1890’s.

Many early examples of gloves in the collection have been conserved, that is to say, these gloves have supports inside them, and they are displayed on handling boards. The supports aim to reduce the stress on the materials used to make the gloves, which in some cases, are very fragile.
You can read more about our museum by going to our blog, http://blog.dents.co.uk/ and clicking on the "museum" tag.

We have begun a project to organise, catalogue and pack and display the collection under the direction of Sarah, our Museum Curator.
Below is a selection of gloves from our collection.

 

4 single Jubilee Gloves to Commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee c1897.  

 

Gloves Worn by Charles I c 1625-1649. Cream/yellow leather, gloves. Whip- stitched seams, by hand using fine silk thread. The glove is attached to gauntlets consisting of eight rounded tabs covered with ivory silk satin, embroidered with flowers in coloured silks and gold metal thread. The join where the gauntlet and glove meet is hidden beneath a band of ruched pink silk ribbon edged with gold bobbin lace with sequins. Lined, only at tabs.

 

Gloves Worn By Queen Victoria c 1861-1901. Black fine wool jersey knit fabric, gloves, Prix seams, a combination of hand and machine sewn. The thumb is cut separately and has been joined to the body of the glove with seaming around the base. Points - 3 chain stitch points. 4 ½ BL. No button opening. The glove has a flared cuff, cut on the cross, which has been seamed and joined to the glove at the wrist with a twill tape. Unlined. Turned top, with one row of machine stitching.  

 

A Coronation Glove, Elizabeth I. White alum tawed sueded leather, left hand gauntlet glove. Prix seams, all hand sewn. The cuff is decorated with silver thread, purl and sequins, and silk satin inserts in a stylized design showing an Orb, flowers and leaves. Lined. The cuff is lined with dark cream/beige silk fabric. Turned top, with the silk lining hiding the seams inside. The edge of the cuff is trimmed with twisted thread fringing.  


Gloves or Stockings?

A pair of gloves worn by Empress Josephine, late 18th Century / early 19th century.

 
 
The gloves are cut from one piece of knitted silk fabric, with a separate thumb and fourchettes. They are seamed, right sides together, with ivory silk thread in a whip-stitch. The seam allowances of the outer seams have been left unfinished inside the gloves. Top - stitching has been worked to hold the seam allowances around the base of the thumbs. The initials ‘CH’ are knitted into the fabric at the lower edge on the inner arm, just below the hem. The name ‘Josepha 6’ is written at the inside fold of the glove.

There are some remnants of decorative embroidered stitching at the base of the fingers and the lower sides of both finger 3’s. This indicates that the gloves were cut from an embroidered fabric, perhaps a pair of stockings.

Imagine the Empress being given a pair of stockings that were so soft on her feet that she decided to have them altered into a pair of gloves!

Who knows – maybe it was even a gift from Napoleon himself?

For more information on historic gloves please visit the The Worshipful company of Glovers' of London website. The Glove Collection Trust owns a collection of historic and modern gloves recognised as one of the finest in the world.