Glove Story of the Week - Miniature Gloves | The Fashion Museum

Glove Story of the Week - Miniature Gloves

Welcome to the latest in our series showcasing the world-class Glove Collection of the Worshipful Company of the Glovers of London, cared for and housed here in Bath at the Fashion Museum.

17 May 2019

A new display Collection Stories opens at the Fashion Museum this weekend, and this incorporates a feature called Fashion Focus, which shines the spotlight on the Museum’s archive collection of historical dolls. The dolls, dressed in up-to-the-minute fashions from the 1870s and 1880s, are shown alongside life-sized day and evening wear from the same period, inviting comparisons between the ‘little and large’ garments on display.  

For this reason our Glove Story this week focuses on a group of four little pairs of leather gloves from the mid-20th century, presented in a special frame, with a plaque that reads ‘ Miniature Gloves Made by Hand by the Late Mrs Brockin, a Pensioner of Fownes Bros. & Co. When She Was Over 80 Years of Age’. 

We are fairly sure that these gloves are small-scale samples, showing Mrs Brockin’s sewing prowess and glove-making skills, rather than dolls’ gloves. Measuring around 5cm in length, all of the four pairs are decorated with points, the three rows of stitching found on the backs of full-size pairs of gloves. There are also tiny pearlised buttons and carefully-worked buttonholes on the vents and closure at the wrists.

We know nothing about Mrs Brockin; but she was doubtless one of a huge number of talented and proficient women glove-makers. Traditionally, and to this day, it was women who make up and sew gloves, while men cut the leather and the pattern pieces from which gloves are made up.

Fownes Brothers and Company was established in Worcester in 1777 and went on to become a leading glove-maker, with factories in Europe and North America, as well as maintain its base in Worcester. Fownes amalgamated with Dents, the leading heritage brand and one of only two remaining glove-makers in the UK, in 1970. Today, Dents is based in Warminster in Wiltshire, with its own museum and archive collection of historical gloves.

Mrs Brockin’s Miniature Gloves can be seen at the Fashion Museum Bath, as part of the Glove Stories display, until 1 March 2020.

Glove images: Courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London

Glove photography: Celie Nigoumi.