Laura Camerlengo

The Power of the Purse


In Elizabethan England (1558 – 1603), elaborate purses were often used to parcel gifts, and this lustrous purse may have been intended as a luxurious gift wrap. At New Year’s, for example, higher nobles and bishops were obliged to present Queen Elizabeth with gold coin-filled purses as a sign of their gratitude and loyalty to their monarch.
purses, macramé, gift-giving, Elizabethan, Bacchus

Stitches in Time


Samplers are embroideries that showcase needlework skills. The word “sampler” is derived from the Latin exemplar, meaning “model.” The oldest surviving samplers date from the fifteenth century, and were used by women and girls to practice stitches, alphabets, and other designs. Their motifs were worked in horizontal bands, and referenced when embroidering clothing and domestic textiles.
samplers, marking samplers

One for the Money


Has Tax Day left you pinching your pennies? Then you may appreciate the secure storage offered by miser’s purses. These oblong purses often have small center slit openings with sliding rings to secure coins in the purses’ ends (though sometimes clasps are used). Although these purses have existed in various forms since the seventeenth-century, they developed the shape seen here in the early nineteenth century.
knitting, costume, costume accessories, netting, crochet, purses, literature, needlework