Handkerchief, made in England, second half 19th century
Linen with whitework embroidery and bobbin lace
In the 19th century people used plain linen or cotton handkerchiefs for the same varied purposes they do today. However, if the handkerchiefs were decorated, they could also be carried purely as fashionable accessories and given as gifts. In such cases they often incorporated the initials of their owner in an elaborate monogram, particularly if they were part of a trousseau. Some of the most ornamental were of whitework embroidery, made with such skill that they were reversible, being equally fine on each side, and trimmed with hand-made lace.
courtesy V&A Museum