18th Century Knit Gloves

Last updated: Jan 11, 2024

Pages on 18th century mittens, knit mitts, and gloves and mittens of the Middle Ages & Renaissance can be found elsewhere on this site, along with pages with knitting sheaths and images of 18th century knitters.

This collection focuses on gloves for secular use, not ecclesiastical gloves.

  • National Museums Scotland H.NA 1044, the Gunnister man’s woolen knitted gauntlet gloves, Shetland, late 17th century; “The gloves have been knitted mainly in a stocking stitch pattern, one row plain, one row purl. There are a few rows of garter stitch (all plain rows) on the cuff to create a pattern.”
  • ModeMuseum OBJ34292, knit cotton gloves with cut-outs at the fingertips, 18th century
  • MFA 38.1265a-b, a pair of women’s gloves, French, 18th century; “Knitted with scarlet silk, the fingers with reddish orange silk, the backs of the gloves and border around cuff embroidered with gold thread in design of fine flowering vines.”
  • Worshipful Company of Glovers of London 23415 + A, “a pair of men’s knitted silk gloves, probably Italian, early 18th century, lined in plain ivory silk/linen, knitted in stocking stitch with an ivory ground scrolling carnations, tulips and angular scrolling foliage, small birds and beasts, in green, two shades of pink, vivid blue and yellow, shaped curved openings, 28 cm long.”
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1996-855, New York, c. 1750-1770; “Single glove knitted in stocking stitch of natural linen, discolored to brown. Wrist length with hemmed cuff; fingers are short, the longest measuring 2¾".”
  • Pair of knit silk gloves from a set of female clothes and accessories for a lay figure used and made by Louis François Roubiliac, c. 1750-1762
  • “[Mark] Hammel: … I found also this mitten (producing a knit glove); these I found the next morning after it was robb'd …
    [John] Child. There was but one piece tried to be let down by that rope; all the other pieces where toss’d down; it was soft ground, and the fall made no great noise. [John] Guest had on a pair of mittens; that is, knit gloves, and a pair of green muffatees.
    Q. Look at this mitten here produc’d.
    Child. He takes it in his hand. This is one of Guest’s, I believe.
    Q. Look at these green muffatees. He takes them in his hand.
    Child. These are the same he had on.
    Mr Darking. I found this odd mitten, and these muffatees, on the top of the church, the day after it was robb’d.” (Trial of John Guest et al., 30th May 1759)
  • Fries Museum T11154, a pair of knit gloves in brown and white wool with rounded edges along the wrist, 1783
  • Knit gloves found on the shipwreck of the General Carleton of Whitby, 1785:
    W-32/66/95 “A right hand glove with heavy damage to the palm and cuff. The piece was hand-knit using a stockinette stitch and is now turned inside out.”
    W-32/589/96 “is decorated with two rows of fringe, framing a band of checkering (each check is seven stitches high by four stitches wide). In addition, decorative three-stitch-wide channels run along the back of the hand to the finger tips. This glove was made by someone well versed in a wide range of knitting techniques. The first three fingers were torn and later darned. There were also unrepaired holes in the thumb and palm. The damage and repairs suggest the gloves were worn while handling lines or climbing aloft.”
  • MFA 99.664.73a-b, pair of women’s gloves, hand-knit linen, American (used in Lexington, Massachusetts), late 18th century to early 19th century
  • MFA 38.1347a-b, pair of women’s gloves, English or French, late 18th or early 19th century; “Machine-made (knitting machine). Thin white silk. Gloves though similar may not have always been pair. Spot design on mesh ground.”