Friday Frocks – It’s time to embark on a new theme, and during the next few weeks we will be posting about items that feature hand-work, whether this be decoration or construction. The Olive Matthews Fashion collection is renowned for the beautiful and intricate hand workmanship it contains. Gathering and cherishing pieces that exhibit this quality, usually from before the advent of mass-manufacture, was one of Miss Matthews’ key collecting objectives. Today we’ll start with a detail of some gorgeous embroidery which has been used to embellish a man’s three-piece silk satin suit from the 1770s. The design includes silk threads, seed pearls, metalwork embroidery, pastes and turquoise beadwork. Though a few elements of the decoration are now lost, it is still possible to see the quality and lavish nature of the embroidery. This work was probably commissioned by the wearer, and the bright colours no doubt reflect a personal taste for eye-catching clothing.