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coat 1954.996/3
coat button 1954.996/3
jacket 1976.6
jacket detail 1976.6

The tradition of wearing Lincoln or "Sherwood Forest" green for archery dress, alluding to Robin Hood and his exploits, continued well into the nineteenth century (see man's jacket of about 1820 below), but darker greens and black were common by the 1880s. Male and female archery clothing in the nineteenth century generally followed the current fashionable silhouette, but included specific accessories such as a belt or sash to hold arrows and a shooting glove to protect the fingers.

Archery was a sport of skill and precision suitable for both men and women, with participants aiming arrows at distant boards or "targets". As a pastime, it became extremely popular during the eighteenth century, with a renewed interest from the 1820s, especially for women players. Indeed, archery was considered to be one of the few suitable sporting amusements for women from the early nineteenth century until the 1880s. Women were encouraged to concentrate on their poise as much as for their talent, and a fine figure could cause much admiration, wearing an alluring outfit whilst holding a bow and aiming the arrow. (see below for the Punch cartoon "The Fair Toxophilites" from the middle 1860s)George Eliot commented in 1876 in her novel Daniel Deronda "who can deny that bows and arrows are among the prettiest weapons in the world for feminine forms to play with?"

Full item descriptions:

"archery coat" [1954.996/2], Firmin & Sons
"archery jacket" [1976.6]

Related Themes:

Sports and Leisure
Victorian Photographs: Sporting