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Object Timeline

1962

  • We acquired this object.

1970

2013

2014

2019

Waistcoat (France), 1785–95

This is a Waistcoat. It is dated 1785–95 and we acquired it in 1962. Its medium is silk and metallic embroidery on silk foundation, linen back and its technique is embroidered in silk in knot, stem, and satin stitches; metallic yarn in satin stitch; couched silk cord; appliqué of three plain weave silk fabrics; on plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.



This handsome waistcoat depicts Dido and Aeneas in a scene from Didon, a popular 1783 opera by the composer Niccolò Piccini (Italian, 1728–1800) based on Virgil’s Aeneid. Set in the 9th-century-BCE city of Carthage, the two main characters stand before a low-latticed wall topped with ornamental urns filled with flowers. The setting evokes the late-18th-century interest in classical forms of antiquity as well as less formal garden settings.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Inspired by Opera.

It is credited Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 64.8 x 56.5 cm (25 1/2 x 22 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Waistcoat (France), 1785–95; Previously owned by George Saville Seligman ; silk and metallic embroidery on silk foundation, linen back; H x W: 64.8 x 56.5 cm (25 1/2 x 22 1/4 in.); Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf; 1962-54-47

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445265/ |title=Waistcoat (France), 1785–95 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 April 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>