We visited the world's largest collection of bags at The Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam. Impressive and well worth a visit if you're interested in the history of these popular accessories.
This is the oldest (and not the prettiest) bag in the museum and is from the 16th Century, France. It is made from goat's leather and has 18 pockets!
Letter cases were popular in the 1700-1800 for keeping love letters and bills. Usually made from leather, silk or straw, and embroidered with metal thread or silk. Letter cases were often given as gifts for weddings and engagements.
Decorative bag handles.
Ivory parcel carrier with silver rings. Early 1900. This is a precursor of the plastic bag and you would tie what you wanted to carry on to the handles.
Beaded bags were popular in 1700-1800 and could take about 2 weeks to make! Each coloured bead is individual threaded before being knitted in to a bag.
A chatelaine was a symbol of power for the medieval lady of the manor. Evolving through the years, a lady would hang her valuables such as her bible, keys, purse, fan, sewing box. These went out of fashion in early 1900 when the handbag arrived.