Originally this simple sleeved waistcoat called a hemdrok was worn by sailors and farm workers, tucked into their voluminous breeches for practical reasons. Often two or three waistcoats were worn .The garment was hip length , fitted and the button opening ended at the waist.
By the 18 th century the hemdrok evolved into a decorative jacket worn by high ranking seamen using rich fabrics and decorative buttons. At home the ordinary sailor would wear the jacket for Sunday best. Small ball buttons in close rows decorated the front and sleeves, held together by a connecting cord. Depending on one's wealth they might be made of gold, silver or tin.
The provence of Friesland with trading ports on the Inner sea had a large seafaring community who called the jacket borstrok, baeitje or busje. Due to Holland's fame as a sea faring nation Peter the Great spent a year around 1700 in Holland learning seafaring and shipbuilding skills. A set of original items of clothing of this date including a hemrok are in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
The brocade is probably French. By candlelight the silver colour in the brocade would have glistened.
Condition: Very good. No stains or damage.