Somehow it is already September and the season of secret gift projects has started. Hazards of being a craftsperson - gifts take months of forward planning. Ah well. I have been saving some research photos for just this purpose!
Back in July I was fortunate to be able to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum's research centre to work with some collection items that aren't on display. Mostly I was there to look at a shirt and a handkerchief, and those will appear in future posts. A few days before I went, though, I came across a series of pins in the online catalogue that were mysteriously labelled "ruff pins". There were no photos and only the vaguest of descriptions, so I requested them as well.
They came mounted on board as a set.
I'd wondered whether they were decorative stickpins or functional attaching pins. As you can see, they turned out to be the latter.
It's not clear whether the heads of the pins are separate rings of metal that have been slipped over the shaft, or if each pin is a single piece of wire that has been knotted at one end to form the head.
The pins are made of copper or an alloy, judging from the colour of the corrosion. Each is about an inch long, tapering to a point.
The curator also brought up an 18th-century cutwork cap by mistake. It was very pretty, though, so I took a photograph: