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Waistcoats of the 18th and 19th centuries served as a layer protection and ornamentation during a period in fashion when the coat was intended to be left open in the front. The color was often chosen to complement the suit and covered in imaginative embroideries, heavily woven patterns or shiny satins made to draw the eye. The style of the neck, the length and the hem treatment fluctuated as the tastes changed from over-sized coats of the early 18th century to narrow tightly fitted coats of the late 18th century and onward.
This is a charming example of 18th-century embroidery with animated insects and Asian-inspired fruit branches. The butterflies climbing the branches at the front hem and the grasshoppers sitting atop flower stems are particularly engaging.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.