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Pink silk nightcap

Silk satin nightcap, English, circa 1640–45

Silk satin nightcap, English, circa 1640–45

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It was fashionable for wealthy gentlemen in the 17th and 18th century to wear a form of undress, known as deshabille, at home. This often consisted of a loose gown, nightcap and slippers. This man’s nightcap is made of light pink silk satin embroidered in coiled silver and silver-gilt threads with stylized pineapples. The fruit, which is indigenous to South America, was first introduced to Europe from Guadeloupe by Christopher Columbus in 1493.

Sir William Burrell purchased this nightcap, together with a matching pair of slippers and a quilted waistcoat, in 1937. They are said to have been worn by Charles II, when Prince of Wales, who is supposed to have left them behind when he was staying with Sir Thomas Veel at Alveston, near Bristol, in 1645. Charles was made General of the Western Association in early 1645. He and his army left Oxford on 4 March 1645, staying in Bridgwater and later Bristol, before Sir Thomas Fairfax and the New Model Army at Langport defeated them. The waistcoat remained with the Veel family until it was the London dealers Frank Partridge and Sons from whom Sir William Burrell purchased it in 1937.

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