Published: 27 January 2021


Here we have a selection of bags from our collection, ranging from the late 1800s to the 1960s.

A small decorative bag from the late 1800s, probably used in the evening. It is made from many beads threaded together to form a square and diamond pattern in white, green and metallic beads. A curved green stone has been set in the centre of each diamond shape. The metal beads have tarnished and are now a dull brown colour, but they would have originally caught the light and glittered.

An unusual bag made from two plates of plastic moulded to look like tortoiseshell, covering a brown suede inner. It is sewn together with strips of brown suede and the handle is also made from suede. The lining is in a contrasting bright orange silk. The bag is thought to date to the 1920s.

A pair of evening bags from the 1920s, one in mauve and one in pale pink. They are each made from a floral brocade fabric woven with gold thread. The fabric has been gathered up and pleated into an ornate filigree clasp at the top, one in silver and one in gold.

A curiously shaped bag from the 1930s made in grey silk satin, with lines of beads fanning out. Studded with clear glass diamante, each surrounded with circles of tiny silver beads. The silver beads have turned grey but would have originally been bright and shiny.

A pouch shaped bag in a distinctive print fabric with stylised stripes of red, green and yellow. The fabric covers the frame and the bag fastens with an elegant diamante clasp. This bag dates to the 1930s.

A bold, box shaped handbag in a shiny pale blue patent plastic vinyl. It features a brass oval metal fitting through which a tab passes to close. The bag dates from the 1960s when plastic fabrics became very popular for shoes and related products.

A particularly unusual plastic handbag from the 1960s. In this bag the plastic is clear and has strips of gold tinsel and ears of wheat moulded into it. The images of butterflies have been painted onto the outside. It has a gilt frame, and an acrylic handle.