On Gloves

T I ^HAT gloves, in some foim or other, at first in a limited way only, have been in use from a very early period is without a doubt, and much has been written at various times on their origin and use; and this renders it less necessary in the present work to deal in any pedantic or lengthy mmiic with the history or manufacture of either of the subjects to which this work is dedicated. Still, for the benefit of the casual reader, a short resume of a few general facts concerning .our subjects may.not be altogether unnecessary. '

The origin of the glove has never been actually, .discovered, but it was certainly in use in very early times.

Ferhaps the earliest mention of gloves is that in the Bible, where Rebecca, in order to secure the birthright for her son Jacob, put skins on his hands that so his father Isaac should not recognise the younger from the elder of the sons.

Before gloves, in their most primitive form, became in any degree to be commonly worn by either sex, by cleric or layman, ihe want of a covering for the hands was very probably supplied by b

Jong and loose sleeves falling at will over the wrists and hands. Numerous illustrations could be given of this kind of sleeve as a hand-covering derivable from brasses and medixval pictures.

In Frense Church, Norfolk, is a brass to the memory of Anne Duke (a.d. 155 j), and another in Sawtrey Church, Hants; and in mnny others in various paits of the country exquisite representations are to be found, in brass and stone, of the falling sieeve or turn-over cuŒ, usaWe as a covering for the wearer's hands.

Planché, in his History of British Costume, speaks of the sleeves and mantles of the eleventh century being used as hand-coverings.

Gloves, though probably very unlike the article with which we are familiar, were known to. and worn by, the Roman and the Greek -

We have the authority of Planché that after the time of Henry I. (a.d. 1135) gloves. " some short, some reaching nearly to the elbows, embroidered at the tops and jewelled at the backs if pertaining to Princes or Prelates, became frequent."

Here is ,1 definite statement from a reliable authority that gloves, both plain and embroidered, were by no means uncommon, even at this early period of our history.

In Worcester Cathedïal is a monument to K;ng John, on which the King is represented in his regal habiliments, and on the hands are gloves with jewelled work on che backs.

In 1370 merchants were allowed to import leather gloves into Gascony, which proves that gloves had become articles of common everyday wear; in 1564 gloves were forbidden to be imported i|to England, and this prohibition was not withdrawn till 1825 i There is ample evidence that a large and regular trade existed in this country at an early date; brasses on various tombs and sculptured effigies absolutely confirm the fact. In the Church of Fletch ng, in Sussex, is a memorial to a glover. It consists of a plain slab of stone, in which is inserted two small plates of brass, one representing a pair of gloves, with slightly embroidered gaundets, shc>wir_n the palms of the hands ; and on the second brass> placed Immediately below the first, is an inscription commencing, " Hie jacit Petros Denot, Glover." ""he date may be about 1450. Again, in the Church of St. Peter, in the chancel, at St. Albans, a brass shieM at one time marked the grave of one John Atkin, GWer (a.d. 1449) ; there is also a brass tc Bishop Bell in St. James's Church, Clerken-well, London, on which he is represented wearing gloves.

There is a monument in Norwich Cathedral to Bishop Gold well, representing a full-length effigy, on the hands of which, though greatly mutilated, may be seen gloves with jewelled backs.

Thomas a Becket is said have been buiied wearing his official gloves. This adds to the evidence that gloves, at any rate among ecclesiastics, were in common use. A. pair of gloves are mentioned in the will of Bishop Riculfus, who died a..d. 913- •

Henry II., who died a.d. 1189, and was burled at ¡Ajntevrault, is described as wearing his coronation robes." his golden crown on his head, and gloves on his hands. When die tombs of King John (a.d. 1216) and of Edward i. (a.d. 1307). were opened in the eighteenth century, gloves were found upon the hands qi both these monarchs.

Probably the earliest existing examples of clerical gloves are those of William of Wykeham, the founder, in 1380, of New College, Oxford, which are now preserved in the Ashmolean Museum in that city.

In the leign of Henry VIII. gloves, worn by the nobility and gentry, weie generally beautifully and elaborately embroidered ; and later on, in the time of good Queen Bess, perfumed gloves became quite the fashion among ladies and gentlemen of the Couit.

Earl m the sixteenth centuiy a curious custom prevailed of having slits cut in the fingers of the gloves, in order to display the jewelled rings on the hands of the wearers.

Stow, in his Annals (r615)^ page 868, describes how " Millo-ners, or Haberdashers had not then any gloves Imbroydered, or trimmed with gold, or Siike ; neither Gold nor Imbroydered G;rdles and Hangers, neither could they make any costly wash or perfume, until about the fourteenth or fifteenth yeare of the Queene (Elizabeth^ the right honourable Edward de Vcre, Earle of Oxford : carne from Italy, and brought with him Gloves : sweete bagges, a perfumed leather "Vrkin, and other pleasant things, and that yeer the Queene had a payre of perfumed Gloves trimmed onely with foure Tuftes or roses of cullered Silke, the Queene tooke such pleasure in those Gloves, that she was pictured with those Gloves uppon her hands, and for many yeeres after it was called the Earle of Oxfords perfume."

Stow is1 evidently- it error when he says haberdashers had neither embroidered nor perfumed gloves till the rime of Queen Elizabeth, as such articles are mentioned in various documents at a much earlier date, though they may not have been of English manufacture 01 in-common use.

In Nichols TrogrCss of Queen Elizabeth it is recorded that " When'the Queen went to Cambridge in 1578 the Vice-Chancellor presented a pair'of gloves perfumed and garnished with embroiderie and goldsmith's wourke, price lxs. It fortuned that the paper in which the gloves were folded to open ; and hir Majescie behould ng the beautie of the said gloves, as in great adiniration, and in token of her thankful acceptation of the same, held up one of her hands, and then smelling unto them, put them half waie upon her hands."

As perfumed gloves became more common, quaint recipes were published instructing ladies and others :n the art of making 11 washes, cosmeticks and perfumes." The following, extracted from

^Beauties treasury; or. {^9 Ladies' /^rtfe Mecum, published in London in 1705, is of incerest : —

" A rare Perfume to scent Gloves, Fans or the like. Mnsk^ and timber- Grease of each a scruple, dried leaves of sweet Marjoram, beat into fine powder an Ounce, the wh'test Gum Tragacanth one Ounce, dissolved in half a Pint of White Wine, and into that Liquid put the rest, let it simmer over a gentle Fire and wilst it is so doing put in a scruple of Civety and take off the composition, when having prepared youi Gloves by laying them smooth and even on a clean Board or Carpet with a Brush dipt in this gently go over them, and when that is dry, do it a second time, and after that a third time, let them dry in the Shade and it will be a very pleasant wholesome and lasting Scent." Another recipe from the same little volume is headed " The Roman and Millan Perfume for Gloves,1' and among the ingredients mentioned therein ore rosewater, jas-samine, cloves, nutmegs, labdanum, and several of the items named in the previous recipe, ending with the words^ " The Scent of which will greatly refresh and cherish the Vital Spirits."

he price of perfumed gloves appears to have greatly exceeded that of those not so treated. In the Appendix of Roll of <jlncient Cookery is the following entry among accounts relating to an event in the household of Sir John Nevile, of Cliete, Knight. " The Marriage of my son in law Roger Rocklcy and my daughter Elizabeth Nevile, the XlVth. of January, im the XVIIth. year of our Soveiaigne Lord Hemy King VIII.

" Item, for a Pair of perfumed gloves 3 4

As an emblem the glove has been used for centuries past, sometimes as a love token> at others as a sign of defiance ; they have been presented to king* and queens by loyal subjects when visiting the houses of noblemen and gentry or on entering cities and towns, and on these state occasions the gloves had probably been specially nlade and beautifully embroidered.

Shakespeare makes several of his characters speak of gloves. In the Merchant of Venice Portia asko Bassanio for his g!oves ; in Romeo and JMie| and in the plav of Henry V. the glove is spoken of. Sir Walter Scott, in The Fair Maid of Terth, gives a Simon Glower for a father, and in Chapter II. of that novel the fair Catharine is described as " laying aside the splendid hawking glove she was embroidering for the Lady Drummond."

A striking feature m ancient glomes is their great length and size; but it must be remembered that ft was scarcely a consideration in early days, the tight and well-fitting g'ove being comparatively a modern invention.

he fashion in the gloves and rmttens of the civilian was often reproduced, more or less, in the iron gauntlet of the warrior, on which chasing or engraving would take the place of jewels and embroidery.

After the reign of Charles II, the beautifully embroidered gloves gradually .gave place to those of a plainer character, and at the same time ceased, to - be' so often used as a love or other token of any significance^ though even yet it retains some small traces of its past importance. At funerals, to this day, gloves are often distributed to the mourners, and at what are known as Maiden Sessions the local authorities present white gloves to the Judges and Recorders.


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