Margaret Layton

Portrait of Margaret Layton (c. 1590-1641), presumably by Marcus Gheeraerts. Portrait of Margaret Layton (c. 1590-1641), presumably by Marcus Gheeraerts. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. E.214.1994.

Margaret Browne (Brown, Brawne; c. 1590-1641) was the daughter of a wealthy London merchant and the wife of Francis Layton (1577-1661) of West Layton and Rawdon (W. Yorkshire, England). Her portrait, probably by the Belgian artist, Marcus Gheeraerts (the Younger; 1561-1636) and painted in about 1620, together with the embroidered jacket actually worn by the sitter, are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Margaret Layton is shown wearing a high-waisted skirt, a red silk petticoat and a semi transparent apron decorated with whitework embroidery of some form. She is also wearing an open sleeved gown with hanging sleeves and a falling ruff made from Italian needle lace with matching sleeve ruffs.

Of particular note, however, is her jacket. Because the original jacket has survived, it is known that it is made from off-white linen, lined with pink silk taffeta and embroidered in coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt threads and further decorated with spangles. The latter are used to form a curvilinear pattern that helps to enclose a series of embroidered animals, flowers, fruits, insects and plants.

This type of embroidered jacket was fashionable between about 1600 and 1620. The same form of embroidery can also be seen on her plumed cap that is edged with lace.

See also the TRC Needles entry on the Plimoth jacket.


  • ARNOLD, Janet (1980). 'Jane Lambarde's Mantle,' Costume, 14, p. 66.
  • MAYOR, Susan (1994). '"The Layton Doublet," in the collection of Mary, Viscountess Rothermere,' Christie's International Magazine, Vol XI, no. 2, March/April, p. 14.
  • WILLETT-CUNNINGTON, C. and Phyllis CUNNINGTON (1966). Handbook of English Costume in the 17th Century, London: Faber and Faber, p. 109.

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 29 June 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 30 April 2017 10:35