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Object: Muff

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence

Title Muff
Production Unknown, circa 1905
Materials fur, silk
Classification muffs
Credit line Gift of Beverley Eriksen, 1996
Registration number PC004466

A muff is a tubular accessory open at each end into which hands are inserted for warmth. In the seventeenth century a muff known as the 'indispensable' became an important and modish accessory for both sexes. After 1830 men stopped using them and they became a feminine accessory. At this time they also became much smaller, resembling a small round melon. They remained fashionable until the end of World War I, when the newly fashionable greatcoats, with their roomy pockets, eliminated the need for women to carry muffs for warmth.

Muffs were commonly made from fur and lined with silk or satin. The black fur featured in this example is unidentified. The tails of sable (a small animal related to the weasel) were used to make luxurious - and expensive! - muffs during the early part of the Victorian period. Other cheaper materials popular up to the beginning of the twentieth century include: marten, fox, sealskin, astrakhan, imitation fur, swansdown, and velvet.

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