Chicken skin glove

Limerick chicken skin gloves, cream edged at the wrist with silk, finely stitched, made of chicken skin and calf leather, early 19th century and glove of ‘chicken skin’ with walnut shell in which they were sometimes presented, date not recorded.

Limerick Gloves – a celebrated style of glove that became popular throughout England and Ireland during the late 18th, early 19th century. Commonly referred to as ‘chicken-skins’, the gloves were renowned for their exquisite texture. They were made from a thin strong leather derived from the skin of unborn calves and sold encased in a walnut shell.

By the early 19th century, Limerick gloves became a fashionable item, and, like French kid gloves, were admired for the superior quality of the leather and craftsmanship. They were generally produced  in various shades of cream and yellow and were typically worn during the day.

Although thought to have originated in Co. Limerick Ireland, the gloves were later manufactured in other cities throughout both Ireland and England. They continued to be produced on a very small scale until around the middle of the 19th century, however, by that time, pairs of  ‘original’ Limerick gloves became increasingly hard to find. Various examples of these gloves can now be found within a number of museums and private collections across the UK and Ireland.

Thanks to Liza Foley for the text    ‘Liza Foley, PhD candidate – NCAD’.
In the early part of the 19th century Limerick was famed for gloves of pale yellow leather so thin that a pair could be folded up and placed inside a walnut shell – a dainty gift for a one’s ladylove. These are usually called ‘chicken skin’ gloves, which is, perhaps, a deliberate misnomer designed to hide the disagreeable fact that they were actually made from the skins of unborn calves. The hand-stitching is usually about thirty-two stitches to the inch and one pities the women and girls who scraped meager living from such exacting work.
Leather Craftsmanship J.W. Waterer

 
[…] Limerick gloves were “a celebrated style of glove that became popular throughout England and Ireland during the late 18th, early 19th century. Commonly referred to as ‘chicken-skins’, the gloves were renowned for their exquisite texture. They were made from a thin strong leather derived from the skin of unborn calves and sold encased in a walnut shell.” Limerick glove. Image @The Museum of Leathercraft. […]
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