Brown silk voided velvet trimmed with metallic bobbin lace; L. 23 1/4 in. (59.1 cm)
Gift of Bashford Dean, 1926 (26.196)
Working in tandem, curators and conservators combine theory and science to produce a more complete understanding of historical artifacts. Testing on this sixteenth-century jerkin by conservator Christine Paulocik has shown that all of the applied adornmentsincluding the padding at the shoulders, silk tufts, and metallic bobbin laceare original to the garment. Decorative buttons made of boxwood at the center front give the illusion of a closure, when in reality the wearer would have required help getting dressed due to the laced closure located at the center back. The use of boxwood buttons turned on a lathe is consistent with technology and materials of the period. The loss of velvet pile is likely a result of an iron mordant used in the dying process.