Fur Waistcoat

"He had a bull-dog between his legs, and in his scarlet shawl neckcloth was a pin representing another bull-dog in gold: he wore a fur waistcoat laced over with gold chains; a green cut-away jacket with basket-buttons, and a white upper-coat ornamented with cheese-plate buttons, on each of which was engraved some stirring incident of the road or the chase; all of which ornaments set off this young fellow's figure to such advantage, that you would hesitate to say which character in life he most resembled, and whether he was a boxer en goguette, or a coachman in his gala suit." (85)

Illustration by W.M. Thackeray, from The History of Pendennis.
Courtesy Project Gutenberg.
From Thackeray, William Makepeace. The History of Pendennis, 1848-50. Quoted in Edwards, Nina. On the Button: The Significance of an Ordinary Item. London: I.B. Taurus: 2012.


What is a fur waistcoat! Anyone know of any extant, or any other descriptions??

Clair Hughes says in her book, Dressed in Fiction: "Thackeray obviously enjoys the comedy of technical terms such as 'basket' and 'cheese-plate' applied to the fastenings of men's coats--and if this novel were to be characterized by a single item of dress it would be such outlandish buttons." (53)

That is one of the tricks to reading fiction written before your time: how do you know which items of clothing were A Thing, which were made up by the author, which were described brilliantly but uniquely by the author...the Hughes quote suggests why my google searches came up short: Cheese-plate buttons were not A Thing. But they sound like they could have been, right??