A magnificent English hussif, or housewife, constructed from diamond-shaped felt pieces of military uniforms, circa 1860. A hussif was a long roll of material with pockets which a soldier used to store items like buttons, thread, needles, pins and button cleaner sticks. The work on this hussif is incredible: each felt piece is outlined in and decorated with brightly colored beads. The hussif is divided into six pocket sections. The bright red top section is embroidered “Prince of Wales LXXXII” and features a large white beadwork fleur-de-lys, also beaded with the Prince of Wales’ motto, “Ich Dien” (I Serve). Sections two, four, five and six feature wonderful beaded designs formed by the small diamonds of white, black, yellow, brown and red felt; there are three beaded tassels at the bottom. The third section is inset with a photograph of a cavalry soldier and stamped on the reverse “W West Artist and Photographer Maidstone”; this section is embroidered with the names of various battles including Sevastopol, Pyrenees, Roleia, Peninsula and Lucknow. Each pocket features a beaded button on either side and the whole piece is backed in black silk. The hussif is in very good condition; the black silk backing is worn and split in many places; there is a tear in the top front section, which is hard to see; one button is missing. Measures 39” by 7 ¼”.