The English artisan skills required to produce handmade, exquisitely embellished, leather gloves has long been an important legacy in the West of England. Historic cities stretching from Worcester to Bath and beyond have, since the 17th Century, been centres of craftsmanship for Glove makers and design. There is something quintessentially English in the narrative of this heritage which has such a strong connection to English culture and branding. Bath is a beautiful Georgian city with world heritage status and two of the most important archival collections of English gloves are housed in the Fashion Museum, and at Dents Gloves nearby. The Glove Collection Trust owns a collection of historic and modern gloves recognised as one of the finest in the world, and includes an unsurpassed collection of 17th century gloves as well as original coronation gloves worn by English monarchs. Some gloves are on loan to the Fashion Museum in Bath and the contemporary gloves within the collection are currently at Dents for cataloguing and digital photography. There are almost 100,000 objects in the Fashion Museum collection, ranging from decorated gloves from the time of Shakespeare to a newsprint leather glove by John Galliano. The research for this paper will include visits to the archives of Dents Gloves and to the collections of the Fashion Museum in Bath. Narratives of some of the most exciting gloves will be revealed from gloves worn by everyday people to those worn by the English aristocracy, Royalty (including the Duchess of Windsor) and English Monarchs including Queen Elizabeth II. It will include research into both historic and contemporary glove design. The paper will uncover the history of the English glove design, and will explore the importance of archival research for designers and glove makers today.
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