From the sixteenth century on, women carried their purses also on a chatelaine, a hook with chains on which accessories could be hung, such as keys, a knife sheath and sewing kit. The name chatelaine came into use in 1828 and was called after the French châtelaine, lady of the manor, or château. The chatelaine was the symbol of power for the medieval lady of the manor was the keys she wore on chains on her waistband or belt. Because of the costly materials used, the chatelaine was a status-defining ornament as well as a practical accessory. In the course of the centuries, the shape of chatelaines and the accessories that hung from them were constantly changing, but only at the beginning of the twentieth century was the chatelaine finally replaced by the handbag.
Chatelaine and chatelaine-purses
Steel chatelaine with thimble box, tape measure, pin cushion, notebook, needle case, scissors and pencil
Silver chatelaine with sewing tools, maker: Willem Rosier, Amsterdam
The Netherlands, ca. 1740.
Silver chatelaine with sewing tools and vinaigrette, maker: Roelof Snoek, Leeuwarden
The Netherlands, 1775-1800.