Handkerchiefs

Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture

The Victoria and Albert Museum's Textile Collection: Embroidery in Britain from 1200 to 1750

Blackwork

See also Will Fisher's article on "That Shakespearean rag: handkerchiefs and femininity" in Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (also published as “Handkerchiefs and Early Modern Ideologies of Gender” in Shakespeare Studies 28); also, Vulgar Things, A Brief History of the Handkerchief in Europe during the Late Middle Ages through the Renaissance, and An Intimate History of the Handkerchief.

While this linkspage does include late medieval illustrations showing handkerchiefs, it is more heavily weighted towards those of the 16th century, demonstrating the wider variety of styles of ornamentation which appear in handkerchiefs of that era. (For now, this page does not include examples from Persian manuscripts, but this may change in a later revision.)

Three early 17th century handkerchiefs at the V&A: T.99-1954 (with silver and silver-gilt bobbin lace), 484-1903 (with cutwork decoration), and 288-1906 (with cutwork, needlelace, and embroidery). Some additional extant handkerchiefs of the 16th and 17th centuries.