As long ago as 1965 the Gallery was lent a remarkable collection of early seventeenth century clothes and embroideries which had belonged to the Filmer family of Kent. Many of the items dated from the same period, 1600 to 1640, and had been worn by Sir Edward and Lady Elizabeth Filmer (who died respectively in 1629 & 1638) and their large family of 9 sons and 9 daughters. Garments included intimate linen caps, forehead cloths, collars, hoods, sleeves and capes; more elaborate gloves, a jacket and a pair of stays; and flat textiles like samplers. Much of the collection comprised understated domestic garments, and such a complete selection of over sixty pieces from one family was a very rare survival.
This collection was presented recently to the Gallery by the owner, a descendent of the original Filmer family, in lieu of tax, and this addition has made a very significant improvement to our holding of early seventeenth century textiles, costume and embroideries. Many of the pieces are currently on view in the Gallery in an exhibition called "The Needle's Excellence", and some, such as the jacket and coloured sleeves pictured below, have been recently conserved.
Full item descriptions:
"coif & forehead cloth" [2003.62/2]
"collar & bib" [2003.90]