Pair of cuffs

Object name

Worn by

Date made

Circa 1745

Place made


A pair of silk and goldwork embroidered cuffs from a man's coat, dating to approximately 1745.

Content description

A pair of embroidered cuffs for a gentleman's coat made in 18th century, probably created around 1745. They are embroidered on lilac coloured silk, backed with linen. Part of the original pattern drawn on the silk is visible. The motifs include flowers and leaves.

The pink flowers, probably roses, are embroidered in silk thread in long and short stitch and include fully open flowers and buds. The smaller white blossom flowers are executed in satin stitch and have gold purl centres which have been created using flat cutwork (goldwork). The sunflower's petals are embroidered in directional satin stitch in yellows and rusts with purl forming the centre. The purple flowers at either end are embroidered in long and short stitch with purl centres. The leaves are green and are worked in long and short stitch with the veins and stems picked out in couched gold purl.

The background is embellished with couched passing thread in a symmetrical pattern with gold spangles in the centre. What results is a diaper pattern of intersecting circles.

Family provenance indicates this pair of cuffs, as well as a matching duo of a boy's waistcoat and a man's waistcoat later cut to fit a woman, both also in the RSN collection, are all tied to the Osborn(e) family. It is likely that these cuffs were originally worn by Sir Danvers Osborn, 3rd Baronet (1715-1753). Osborn was part of the Osborn family whose seat was at Chicksands Priory in Bedfordshire. During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Sir Osborn raised and commanded troops in support of King George II. He served as an MP for Bedfordshire from 1747 to 1753. The baronet suffered depression following the death of his wife Mary and abandoned his seat in parliament to become Royal Governor of New York, hoping for a fresh start in 1753. However, instability in New York caused the third baronet even greater anxiety, and he ended his life. He was buried in Holy Trinity Church in New York less than six days after arrival there and his body was brought back to England in 1754.

The cuffs are an exact match to a waistcoat also worn by Sir Danvers Osborn, conserved by the RSN Studio. Osborn is seen wearing the waistcoat in a portrait by Jeremiah Davison, still in family hands. In it, Osborn is listed as being 30 years old, dating the portrait to 1745 or thereabouts. It can therefore be assumed that the waistcoat and the coat the matching cuffs would have originally been a part of were produced around that time. Sunflowers, rare on early modern English embroidery, can be seen on both the waistcoat and the cuffs. It is possible the inclusion of these flowers is related to Osborn's connection to the Americas, given that the sunflower is native to that region.


width: 21cm
length: 52.5cm
width: 22cm
length: 55cm





Credit line

Gift of Sarah Saunders-Davies, 2022.

Catalogue number


Other numbers

RSN 2685a-b
© Royal School of Needlework