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The Gallery of Fashion

Gallery of Fashion cover Gallery of Fashion interior spread Gallery of Fashion cover interior spread

Aileen Ribeiro is Professor of the History of Dress at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is internationally renowned as an authority on the history of dress, and has published many works including Dress and Morality , Fashion and the French Revolution , and The Visual History of Costume.


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270 x 220mm, 256 pages
250 illustrations, 202 in colour
Bibliography and list of costume collections in the UK and the US
ISBN 1 85514 271 6
Special online promotion £10 (RRP £30 hardback)

Out of print

'an exceptionally handsome book ...'
The Costume Society

Costume, portraiture and the presentation of the individual have been intimately linked throughout the history of art. Yet while the face of the person portrayed is often still directly accessible to us, the details and significance of their dress can be less easy to comprehend.

Lavishly illustrated throughout with paintings, drawings, photographs and other works of art, Aileen Ribeiro's invaluable new study of the role of costume in portraiture is centred around 100 examples from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery. Through them the author explores the purpose and original context of the dress in which the sitter chose to be recorded - the damasks, satins, velvets and furs of Tudor and Stuart magnificence worn by Queen Elizabeth I and Charles I, but also the revolutionary simplicity of the cottons and linens adopted by Mary Wollstonecraft, John Constable and John Clare. We see the evolution of the three-piece suit, painted by Zoffany and Reynolds and photographed by Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson, as well as the increasing social and sexual freedom revealed in twentieth-century dress as worn by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Germaine Greer, Princess Diana and Vivienne Westwood.

Specially commissioned photography provides stunning illustrations of surviving examples of original costume and accessories, including some of the actual clothes worn by the sitters in their portraits, and is complemented by related material, including tailor's bills and fabric designs. Close-up details are used to clarify issues of manufacture, decoration and construction, while the text directs the reader to look again at one of the most fascinating aspects of some of the best-known images of the last 500 years.

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