The Pocket

Posted on May 28, 2019

A Hidden History of Women’s Lives, 1660–1900

Fennetaux Ariane

Barbara Burman

Editeur : Yale University Press

Parution : 28/05/2019

Nombre de pages : 264

>> Lien éditeur


Pencils, a sketchbook, cake, yards of stolen ribbon, thimbles, snuff boxes, a picture of a lover, two live ducks: these are just some of the fascinating things carried by women and girls in their tie-on pockets, an essential accessory throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

This first book-length study of the tie-on pocket combines materiality and gender to provide new insight into the social history of women’s everyday lives—from duchesses and country gentry to prostitutes and washerwomen—and explore their consumption practices, work, sociability, mobility, privacy, and identity. The authors draw on an unprecedented study of surviving pockets in museums and private collections to identify their materials, techniques, and decoration; their use is investigated through sources as diverse as criminal trials, letters, diaries, inventories, novels, and advertisements. Richly illustrated with paintings, satirical prints, and photographs of artifacts in detail, this innovative book reveals the unexpected story of these deeply evocative and personal objects.

Small Things Forgotten
Chapter 1 ‘Oh, Pockets – Pockets – Pockets !’
Revealing Pockets, Practice and Polemics
Chapter 2 ‘Work’d Pocketts to my intire sattisfaction’
Making and Getting Pockets
Chapter 3 ‘So many things’
Pockets and the Labours of Consumption
Chapter 4 ‘They say there is no bottom to them ?’
Pockets, Possession and Promise
Chapter 5 ‘for the play and coach’
Pockets, Mobility and Sociability
Chapter 6 ‘I turn my hand to any thing to get a penny’
Pockets and Work
Chapter 7 ‘I always have the last sheet of my journal in my pocket’
Pockets, Privacy and Memory
  • The Pocket, A Hidden History of Women’s Lives 1660-1900 – Ariane Fennetaux on Newstalk (6’42) :
  • “What particularly interests Burman and Fennetaux is the way in which women of all classes have historically used these tie-on pockets as a supplementary body part to help them negotiate their way through a world that was not built to suit them” —Kathryn Hughes, Guardian 
  • “Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux demonstrate the riches to be found in a unique gendered accessory – the tie-on pocket. They illuminate centuries of British women’s history through their deep knowledge of material culture, showcasing women’s priorities and embodied experiences. Omnipresent, though often hidden, pockets evoked fashion and female virtues. Recovered histories of pockets, their embellishment and persistent usage, reveal vital features of women’s lives”– Professor Beverly Lemire, Henry Marshall Tory Chair at the University of Alberta
  • Podcast ABC – Blueprint for living – The pocket: a hidden history of women’s lives – 1 Feb 2020
    A story of the pocket that reveals a history of gender, of patriarchal repression and of women’s resistance.
    Ariane Fennetaux, Associate Professor, Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Cultures Anglophones and co-author of The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives, 1660-1900