Man's Three-piece Suit: Coat, Waistcoat, and Breeches
Artist/maker unknown, French
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Fashionable men's suits of the eighteenth century consisted of a long-skirted coat, waistcoat, and breeches. Suits were usually made of silk, which could be patterned or accented with rich trim or embroidery. In this example, the delicate embroidery includes chain-stitched flowering vines and wheat sheaves fashioned from narrow ombré ribbon. According to family history, the suit was purchased in Paris by General Jonathan Williams, who from 1770–90 was often in Europe on political and other business; wearing a fine suit would have been a necessary part of his position there.