18th Century Garters

Last updated: Apr 7, 2022

  • MFA 38.1227, macramé in silk and silver-gilt threads, France, 17th or 18th century; “Worked with gold thread (gilded silver wound on yellow silk) and several shades of green silk. The design consists of connected pointed ovals. The ends are trimmed with strings of small gold tassels.”
  • Rijksmuseum BK-NM-8624-A and BK-NM-8624-B, a pair of 18th century garters made from lancé-effect silk with a hook on one side and a tassel on the other
  • MFA 38.1217a,b, France, silk brocade with steel buckles
  • MFA 38.1218a,b, France, silk satin with silk embroidery and silk plain-weave ribbon
  • MFA 38.1228, France; “One garter of pink silk with scrolling conventional flowers couched in silver thread (silver wound on white silk) and flat silver wire. Silver somewhat tarnished, pink silk worn and faded. Lined with linen (two pieces).”
  • MFA 38.1390a,b, France; silk plain weave with silk tambour work and embroidery on silk ribbon; one has the motto 'MA • DEVISE • EST • DE VOUS • AIME' (My motto is to love you) and the other has the motto 'ES • DE • NE • JAMAIS CHANGER' (It will never change)
  • TC1454, a pair of linen tape garters embroidered with colored silk thread, with knotted fringes; one has the motto 'MEMENTO VIVERE' (remember that you will live) and the other has the motto 'NUL BIEN SANS PEINE' (no success without trouble)
  • MFA 38.1391a,b, France; “Silk and silver and spangle embroidery and pigments on silk mounted on paper board and silk ribbon”
  • MFA 38.1392a,b, France; silk satin with silk tambour-work and silk fringe; both feature a motto
  • MFA 38.1393a,b, France; painted silk taffeta, with silk taffeta ribbon
  • MFA 43.1863, gold and silver knit band with gold tassels
  • MFA 43.2333a,b, sablé glass bead work in a floral serpentine design, on silk ribbon with silver lace edging, France
  • MFA 55.601a,b, America; “linen worked solidly with polychrome silks in rococo stitch in zig-zag pattern, colors, green, blue, and brown between points of pink and yellow, blue ribbon lines embroidery and forms ties.”
  • Met 1986.73.1, a garter in polychrome rococo stitch with a heart-shaped pattern
  • Rijksmuseum BK-KOG-85 ('IK GEVE JOU DESE KOUSEBANT MDCCXXII') and Rijksmuseum BK-KOG-86 ('DIT IS OP TROW HIER IS MYN HANT'), North Holland, 1722
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1956-17, England, tablet woven silk garter with the inscription 'WOVE WITHOUT SIGHT' and the date 1725
  • Silk garters, 1727: Rijksmuseum BK-NM-8410-A ('JAN ANNEE DOET DESE VEREERING AAN SYN MOEDER GEESIE DE VRIES ANNO MDCCXXVII') and Rijksmuseum BK-NM-8410-B ('JAN ANNE DOET DESE VEREERING AAN SYN MOEDER GEESIE DE VRIES ANNO MDCCXXVII')
  • Ham House, Surrey National Trust 1140219, a wedding garter, 1730; “Wedding garter of ivory satin and grosgrain ribbon embroidered with threads of silver, gold and coloured silks in a design of ovall medallions with flower motifs in silver and gold linked horizontally by small flowering vines in shades of pink, green and blue.”
  • V&A T.107-1938, woven silk Jacobite garters inscribed 'God Bless the Prince and Save the King'; and the other 'While Whiggs and Rumps in Halters Swing', made in England c. 1745; a writer in The Gentleman’s Magazine remarks, “After having ſo laviſhly ſpoken in praiſe of the garter, I cannot but diſapprove of it, when it is made the diſtinguiſhing badge of a party. It ought to be like the cæſtus of Venus, ſo beautifully deſcribed in my motto, and not to be daubed with plaid, and crammed with treaſon. I am credibly informed, that garters of this ſort were firſt introduced in the late rebellion, by ſome female aid de camps; and whether or not ſuch ladies are to be imitated, is worth the ſerious conſideration of the virtuous part of the fair ſex.”
  • V&A CIRC.217-1920, ivory silk taffeta with floral embroidery, British, c. 1750-1770
  • Silk garters of Hannah Callender of Philadelphia, marked with her name and the date 1762
  • Christie’s Lot 241 / Sale 5422, a pair of silk garters, c. 1770-1790; “padded white silk ground delicately printed with pairs of lovers in barges pulled by swans and dolphins, constructed with fine metal springs woven through silk, and with the mottos 'La Amour les Conduit' and 'L'Amitie les Ramene'”
  • V&A CIRC.218-1920, ivory silk satin garters with silk tambour embroidery, c. 1770-1790
  • National Trust 1350074.1/1350074.2, a pair of garters said to have belonged to Marie Antoinette. “Made from cream silk satin and lined with cream silk tabby. Originally they fastened with ribbons atttached to brass springs encased in silk. They are padded and embroidered with chenille in a design of flowers and leaves either side of a printed box containing the following verse: 'Je peins une beauté fidèle; Je forme un emsemble parfait; Et quand je trace ce portrait, Vous seule en êtes le modèle.'”
  • Monogrammed and embroidered garters once owned by Marie Antoinette
  • V&A T.106&A-1969, embroidered silk with silver thread and ribbon, France, c. 1780-1800; one says 'UNIS A JAMAIS' (united forever) and the other says 'JE MEURS OU JE M'ATTACHE' (I die where I cling) tamboured in silver filé
  • V&A T.208-1911, padded silk taffeta with vining floral tambour embroidery, France (?), c. 1780-1800
  • MFA 43.2010a,b, England; “Cross-stitch embroidered silk with blue, yellow, green, white quatrefoils and salmon diamonds flanking gold silk inscription 'JEH, 1784' on green ground. Salmon silk back and binding; blue silk ribbons to sides.”
  • MFA 43.2015, France, c. 1790; “Blue silk rep embroidered with silver yarns and wire over parchment with design of two chained salmon silk hearts between inscription 'RIEN/NE/PEUT/E/GA/LER' ('Nothing can be equal'). White silk binding and ribbons to sides.”
  • MFA 43.2013, England, c. 1790; a blue garter of the Order of the Garter, with the motto ('HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE') in silver yarns, wire, and spangles
  • Met 1976.235.1a, b, French silk garters, c. 1790; one is inscribed 'PLUS SINCERE QUE JE LE SUIS' and the other is inscribed 'VOUS NAUREZ MAIS DAMIS'
  • Kerry Taylor Auctions 25 Feb 2014, Lot 193, “Two embroidered silk garters, French, late 18th century, one of purple satin embroidered in white chain stitch 'Souvenir d'Amite', the other of ivory silk couched with silver thread and sequins”
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1985-263, a spring garter, probably made in France c. 1790-1835
  • Meg Andrews 8007, painted bride’s garters, late 18th century; “the beige velvet hand painted with an oval containing two doves, surrounded by full blown roses, leaves and forget-me-knots, all in pink, two shades of blue, green, with grey silk ruched elastic to the right hand sides, with base metal clasp and catches engraved with leaves to both ends, edged and lined with rich golden yellow silk”
  • V&A T.196&A-1964, knit cotton garters (in alternating bands of plain and openwork) bound in silk satin, each inscribed "V E / C '98'"
  • MFA 38.1394a,b, probably France, 18th-19th century; “Silver on silk plain-weave with silk embroidery and silk lining and silver buckles”
  • Pair of ladies embroidered garters, France, c. 1800; “Concealed under full-length gowns and petticoats, garters secured the stockings just above or below the knee. In the latter part of the eighteenth century, short garters incorporating fine metal springs and buckles replaced long ribbons or bands that tied around the leg. On a lightly padded ivory satin ground, a trailing vine with diminutive, stylized buds is worked in gradated pink-to-burgundy and light-to-dark green chenille threads, accented with tiny false pearls; along the sides, ivory chenille threads form a shallow, scalloped edging. This type of chenille needlework on garters, particularly fashionable around the turn of the nineteenth century, was in keeping with the restrained ornament of neoclassical dress.”
  • LACMA M.61.9.5a-b, early 19th century spring garters made in England or France
  • Rijksmuseum BK-NM-14278-C, a pink silk garter chain-stitched with a motto ('IL + NE + REVIEN // DRA + PAS + SOUVENT +')

Visible garters in 18th century artwork and illustrations