Over the centuries, fine needlework, both homemade and professionally produced, has been very popular. With the dawn of the 19th century, the petit point technique using tent stitches began trending. Vienna and Paris in particular were the centers of professional petit point embroidery.
Another form of needlework is lace making. Lace purses were made designed for brides and for girls making their first Communions, but lace was also used to create evening purses. Due to the delicacy of lace, not many of these purses are preserved.
Satin purse with floral tambourwork with beaded gold metal frame and chain handle
Crochet cotton reticule with gilded metal mount with porcelain medallions showing Parisian monuments
Silk purse embroidered in petit point and gold metal frame inlaid with silver
Handbag in floral petit point and gold metal frame embellished with silverwork and carnelian
Silk evening bag embroidered with gold thread and brass frame encrusted with glass stones
France, early 1930s.
Silk purse with floral decoration and cord handles wrapped around unusual twisted metal fittings
Woollen embroidered reticule with chenille tassels. With letter from maker Ella Mendham to her mother.
Silk bridal bag with symbolic signs and inscriptions of love in silver and gold thread
Italy, ca. 1700
Cotton purse block-printed with woman decorated with gold metal thread embroidery
Silk letter case with white tambourwork decoration, with French text "Quand on Aime Tout Est Plaisir "
Silk bridal bag with bride and groom in enamel on copper and gold lace trim, Limoges
Silk letter case with metal thread embroidery, sequins and text inside 'Il brule pour vous' and 'Il est toujours fidèle'
France, ca. 1800.
Sweetbag embroidered with silk on a ground of silver thread, lady amidst flowers and insects
Silk shoe painted with roses and metal button inlaid with rhinestones, J. Sears & Co True-Form
Carpetbag with leather sides and embroidered front and and back, and long cord handle
Small brocade purse with hallmarked gold frame, Wed. C. Netelenbos of Amsterdam
The Netherlands, 1823
Sweetbag worked in silks on a ground of silver thread with text woven in drawstring
Letter case woven and embroidered with silk, gold and silver thread and two fables from Jean La Fontaine (1621-1695)
France, ca, 1690
Brocade evening bag with imitation gemstone fastening, Maison de Bonneterie
The Netherlands, 1920s
Satin purse decorated with flowers in silk and metal thread and semi-precious stones, 'KANE-M'
Velvet evening bag embroidered with silk, goldwork and green semi-precious stones
Silk letter case with embroidery in floral motifs, cardinal's hat crowned a coat of arms and religious text
Austria, 18th c.
Handba 'Firework' made of Irish blanket fabrics and woven with wire, Angela Hope
Handbag depicting The Milkmaid embellished with imitation pearls, rhinestones and galloon, Hester Slaman
The Netherlands, 2004
Handbag embroidered in gros point with lace trimming and button decoration, Hester Slaman
The Netherlands, 2007
Letter case with embroidery and text "ta vie m'est chère", 'your life is precious to me'
Silk letter case with floral embroidery and medaillon with hair embroidery signed 'frannck f'.
Silk purse with embroidery, beaded tassels and plastic frame, probably home-made with pattern from Hiawatha
Reticule with embroidery and stamped with text "St. Mij. "NEDERLAND"
The Netherlands, 1890-1929
Embroidered purse with floral motifs, gold metal frame and original box, Cartier Ltd London
UK, ca. 1962
Fabric evening bag and matching coinpurse embroidered with silk, gold-coloured thread and glass stones