Glove Stories exhibition opens at the Fashion Museum Bath

If the glove fits! Exquisite pieces handcrafted for Hollywood stars and royalty from the last 400 years will go on display in a landmark exhibition

  • The Glove Stories exhibition will open at the Fashion Museum Bath on 2 March
  • Highlights include exquisitely embroidered gauntlet gloves from the 1620s 
  • Also includes Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation glove, worn at Westminster Abbey
  • Some made of such fine leather they could be rolled up and kept inside a walnut

Gloves worn by Elizabeth I and seen in the Star Wars films are to go on show as part of a fascinating new exhibition.

Glove Stories, which will open at the Fashion Museum Bath on 2 March, will showcase 150 singles and pairs of historical gloves from the past 400 years, many of which have never been on show to the public before.

Highlights include a pair of embroidered gauntlet gloves from the 1620s and Elizabeth I’s coronation glove.

The exquisite glove was worn by the young queen at a day-long coronation ceremony in January 1559. 


Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation glove, worn during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 1953, which will sit alongside its replica, made in case of a last-minute emergency (pictured right, the Queen in London earlier this month)

It is one of the treasures of Dents Museum and Archive collection, rarely seen on public display.

Also in the exhibition is Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation glove, worn during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in June 1953. 


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So precious is the antique, it will go on display alongside will be an identical replica which was made in case of accidents on the day some 56 years ago. 

The new exhibition will mark the first time that the two single gloves have ever been displayed together.

Guests can also feast their eyes on a replica of Queen Victoria’s coronation glove , alongside a Limerick glove originating in Ireland from the 1830s.

These gloves, favoured by Queen Victoria, were made of such fine leather that they could be rolled up and kept inside a walnut. 


One of the Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage-driving gloves from the 1990s are made of doeskin leather from the Balmoral estate. Prince Philip, a keen carriage rider, is often seen riding through Balmoral and Windsor (pictured right, at Windsor Castle in October 2018)


Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation glove. The exquisite glove was worn by the young queen at a day-long coronation ceremony in January 1559. It is one of the treasures of Dents Museum and Archive collection, rarely seen on public display. Elizabeth in a portrait dated 1575-1580, right


Silvered effect long gauntlet gloves as worn by actor Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Other highlights include a pair of exquisitely embroidered gauntlet gloves from the 1620s and ElizabethI’s coronation glove

The Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage-driving gloves from the 1990s are made of doeskin leather from the Balmoral estate.

And a pair of Star Wars gloves worn by actor Mark Hamill when battling extreme temperatures and the Wampa ice monster in the snowy wastes of Planet Hoth in the opening scenes of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back will also be on display.

Another highlight is a Soviet Cosmonaut’s glove, worn in 1986 by Colonel Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Volkov.

And a pair of of ‘Multi-Terrain’ Pattern Combat Gloves, worn during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan in 2012/2013 by the Logistic Support Team Commander for the 1st Battalion Scots Guards Battlegroup, will be on show. 

A Soviet Cosmonaut’s glove, worn in 1986 by Colonel Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Volkov. Rosemary Harden, Fashion Museum manager, said: ‘The display will feature groups of gloves and will focus on uncovering unique and different stories’

Selection of brightly coloured suede leather gloves, by self-taught glove maker Mrs Anne Kershaw (1950s). Glove Stories is designed to shine a light on the ailing British glove industry

Rosemary Harden, Fashion Museum manager, said: ‘The display will feature groups of gloves and will focus on uncovering unique and different stories, while also celebrating the incredible craftsmanship and skills involved in this often overlooked area of fashion along the way.’

Glove Stories is also designed to shine a light on the ailing British glove industry. At one time there were hundreds of glove makers across Britain, centred in the towns and villages of Somerset, Dorset and West Wiltshire.

A key element of the Glove Collection of the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London is the Spence Collection, a grouping of over 100 single gloves and pairs of mainly 17th century gloves, all carefully collected by artist Robert Spence. 

A pair of of ‘Multi-Terrain’ Pattern Combat Gloves, worn in Afghanistan in 2012/2013 by the Logistic Support Team Commander for the 1st Battalion Scots Guards Battlegroup

A pair of light brown knitted rayon utility gloves (1940). Rosemary Harden, Fashion Museum manager, said: ‘The display will feature groups of gloves and will focus on uncovering unique and different stories’

Embroidered tabbed gauntlet glove edged with silver metal thread bobbin lace (1620). At one time there were hundreds of glove makers across Britain, centred in the towns and villages of Somerset, Dorset and West Wiltshire

Embroidered gauntlet glove with pelican and lion design worked in seed pearls and gold metal thread (1620s). Glove Stories is designed to shine a light on the ailing British glove industry

Printed leather gloves from around 1800. Rosemary Harden, Fashion Museum manager, said: ‘The display will feature groups of gloves and will focus on uncovering unique and different stories’

A Limerick glove made in Ireland from the 1830s. This style of gloves, favoured by Queen Victoria, was made of such fine leather that they could be rolled up and kept inside a walnut

Knitted elbow-length mittens with floral decoration, about 1700. The exhibition, called Glove Stories, is designed to shine a light on the ailing British glove industry

Spence trained at the Slade School of Art and collected historical gloves to inform his own artwork. 

A Quaker and pacifist, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his work as an ambulance driver during the Great War. Spence donated his collection of gloves to the Worshipful Company in 1959.

The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London was formed in 1349 by glove makers in London who wished to protect the high standard of their craft and was granted its Royal Charter by King Charles I in 1638.

The Livery collection is now cared for and housed at the Fashion Museum.

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