A Fanciful Victorian Silk, Sequin & Paste Stone Garter


Origin: English
Period: Mid-Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1850
Length: 14 inches
Width: 1.25 inches

Once worn by a lady of rank and fashion, in turquoise peacock blue flecked with gold sequins spelling out the latin “Honi soit qui mal y pense” and terminating in a devil’s tail paste stone buckle.

As this garter is around one hundred and fifty years old there are some sequins and paste stones missing and one end is slightly frayed with a small repair but the motto remains clear and the semblance of the garter is certainly preserved. A great survival.

The Latin is of course the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter. This statement supposedly originated when King Edward III was dancing with his first cousin and daughter-in-law, Joan of Kent. Her garter slipped down to her ankle, causing those around her to snicker at her humiliation. In an act of chivalry Edward placed the garter around his own leg, saying "Honi soit qui mal y pense", and the phrase later became the motto of the Order.

Garters with mottoes went in and out of fashion, but of whatever fabric or style, the garter has always seemed to have exercised a fascination over the mind of the fair sex.

Suiting those with an interest in Victorian textiles or jewellery this garter could double as a fun fashion accessory, for example around the wrist, or it could be used as intended whilst fulfilling the wedding day remit of “something borrowed something blue” with aplomb.