OLD ENGLISH COSTUMES Selected from the Collection formed by Mr. Talbot Hughes A SEQUENCE OF FASHIONS THROUGH THE 18TH & 19TH CENTURIES Presented to the
VICTORIA& ALBERT MUSEUM
London S. W.
Photos by BERTRAM PARK Hairdressing by HARRODS, LTD.
W. H. SMITH & SON,
55 Fetter Lane,
A Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum devoted to Old English Costumes
By SIR CECIL HARCOURT SMITH
Director and Secretary of the Victoria and Albert Museum
THE historical study of English Costume has never received more serious attention than at the present time. If it is true that every wearer imparts a certain individuality to his dress, it is equally true that the characteristics of an age are broadly reflected in its costume. If we would bring back to the imagination the spirits of the past, we must clothe them in the habit of their age, and neglect no detail, however slight, which will help to complete the picture. Thus the study of costume is an essential adjunct to the historic sense; and it is becoming more and more recognised every day in connection with the drama, with literature, and with pictorial art.
A further interest has been added in recent times by the exigencies of fashion, and by the scientific study of dressmaking, which at last has claimed a place among the subjects taught in our schools of arts and crafts.
It is therefore highly important that a representative collection, tracing the history of national costume from the earliest times of which examples are obtainable down to recent years, should be accessible to students and the public.
Unfortunately, the difficulties of forming such a collection are greatly increased by the scarcity of examples. The reason is obvious: in the past, when the better materials were more costly and rare, dresses would not ordinarily be laid aside at the close of a fashion, but would be altered to suit the new taste; and so the more durable examples had no better chance than the flimsier of surviving for posterity. Thus it happens that chance alone, such as the opening of a long-forgotten chest in a dusty attic, gives us (and that but rarely) these peeps into the past.
The collection of costumes in the Victoria and Albert Museum includes examples of great interest and value, but it is recognised as far from complete. The addition of Mr. Talbot Hughes' extensive collection to this nucleus will not only form a series far more representative and varied, but will extend the range of periods which it covers, by bringing it down to Mid-Victorian times.
Messrs. Harrods, by generously presenting this collection to the Museum, have conferred an inestimable benefit on students of costume, and have also contributed materially to increase the interest of the collections to the public generally.
It is proposed to show the collection, soon after it is handed over to the Museum, as a special temporary exhibition in the Central Court near the Main Entrance. It will afterwards be arranged to form a continuous series in conjunction with the costumes already in the possession of the Museum in the Long Gallery on the first floor.
SOME DESCRIPTIVE NOTES
By PHILIP GIBBS
Reprinted from "The Connoisseur," November.
A Generous Gift to the Nation has been made by the Directors of Messrs. Harrods Ltd. by their purchase of the Talbot Hughes collection of costumes, which will be exhibited at their premises before being sent for permanent display to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
It was my privilege to see the collection under the guidance of Mr. Talbot Hughes himself before these rich and splendid relics of ancient fashion were handed over to Messrs. Harrods, and in the company of the well-known artist, who for many years of his life had gathered these costumes together as a labour of love, I was able to examine their beauty, to handle their texture, and to study the historical evolution of dress in a delightful way.
For Mr. Hughes knows each costume, and each precious piece, with the knowledge of love. The spirit of the artist was fired with enthusiasm for the beauty of line and colour revealed by these dresses, in which the ghost ladies of the past arrayed themselves so daintily or so grandly, or with such simplicity, as fashions changed with the passing centuries. But Mr. Hughes is also a great student of costume, and is so familiar with the differences of cut and style, of decoration and texture, that, with one glance at a bodice or a petticoat, a jerkin or an embroidered coat, a slashed sleeve or a turned-up cuff, a jewelled stomacher or a satin muff with purfled trimmings, he knows within a year or two the date when it was worn in the streets of life.
The great value of his collection, from an historical point of view, is the complete way in which it exhibits a pageant of English dress from the first of the Stuart kings to the middle of the Victorian era. Through all the later time there was hardly a trifling detail in the swift changes of fashion which is not shown in this collection.
One sees the velvet bodice of a lady of the court of James I., cut low at the neck for the high ruff, open at the breast with the candour of the beautiful witch woman, Lady Essex, and with diamond-slasbed sleeves.
There is the dainty doublet of a page-boy of Charles I., embroidered with "love-in-the-mist," crown lily and other old-time flowers, as when he tuned his lute in the court of Whitehall, or bowed low to the French ladies of Queen Henrietta.
One calls to mind the elaboration of the Stuart fashions after the simplicity of the Commonwealth by the gold and silver lace braiding the jackets of the Merry Monarch's courtiers, and the ribbon loops placed about the draped skirts of those vivacious ladies like Barbara Villiers, "La Belle Stewart," Mistress Nell Gwynn, and Louise de Keronaille, familiar to us in the portraits by Sir Peter Lely. These ladies affected a graceful simplicity and négligé, which Herrick describes in his famous lines -
"A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace which here and there
Entreats the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglected, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note
In the tempestuous petticoat."
Old Pepys in his diary describes his wife as "extraordinary fine, with the flowered tabby gown that she made two years ago, now laced exceeding pretty," and one is reminded of that costume by some of the dresses in the Talbot Hughes collection.
Then there is the long-skirted coat over full breeches and gartered stockings, which came into fashion with James II., with seams heavily braided with gold or lace; while the lady of the period was showing her fair shoulders above a low-necked bodice, and cutting her sleeves shorter, with ruffles caught back by pearl or silver clasps, and with a looped over-skirt which showed her jewelled petticoat.
When William of Orange was growing his bulbs at Kensington Palace, and discovering new plots against his life with cynical amusement, the costumes of his court, as we see in this collection, were not much influenced by the austerity of the Dutch character, although the ladies were beginning to hide their shoulders. They also looped up their dresses like the pannier-skirted ladies of Watteau's France, and for the first time the crinoline appeared in a moderate form to give fulness to the hips. Sometimes the ladies hid their faces under black masks with lace falls, and the pinafore, most daintily embroidered, was worn to give a domestic touch to the most elegant attire.
The costumes of the men, as we see, are less womanish than in the Cavalier days, and gentlemen no longer wear lace frills at the ends of their breeches. The courtier and the man of fashion has adopted a long, braided coat with big sleeve-cuffs, a waistcoat reaching to the knees with large flaps, and breeches buttoned at the knee, above silk stockings and buckled shoes.
So the eighteenth century began, and in the Talbot Hughes collection one finds every detail of the fashions prevailing in that most splendid period of English costume.
Here, for instance, are hoods and capes which were worn above the feathered headdresses of Queen Anne's fair ladies, and quilted petticoats of rich, thick quality, which they wore beneath their full skirts, looped up as in the last reign, and thin V-shaped bodices with delicately worked stomachers.
Here also are the longer, gold-braided coats with full pleated skirts worn by the dandies and wits of the coffee-houses, and handsome waistcoats with flap pockets, and gauntlet gloves trimmed with gold silk.
Here are little muffs which the Spectator satirised, describing how all the women of fashion were cutting their old muffs into two; and such a dress as was worn by the Justice of the Peace's lady whom the Spectator met at Salisbury, "flounced and furbelowed from head to foot, with every ribbon wrinkled, and every part of her garments in curl."
Here is a "sack-back" dress of George I's reign, with full, short sleeves and a fan of lace failing over the wrist, and one of the round hoops which set out the skirt. Near by is one of the first of the short-skirted coats worn by the dandies of the same period, and their buckled breeches with six buttons at the knee, and capes with turned-down collars. We see how the Jacobites dressed in 1705, and the costumes familiar to us in the caricatures of Hogarth. Dicky Steele swaggered down to the Spectator office in the elegance of this style. Sir Godfrey Kneller wore one of these embroidered coats when he went on his way to the court. Some of these very costumes in the Talbot Hughes collection may have been crushed in the crowds which heard the bursting of the "South Sea Bubble."
The pageant passes from reign to reign. The "Macaroni" of George Il.'s period came with his little hat, short coat with capes, and high walking-stick. There are relics of his costume in this collection which remind one of the satire by Isaac Bickerstaffe -
"Ladies, pray admire a figure
Fait selon le dernier goût.
First his hat, in size no bigger
Than a Chinese woman's shoe;
Six yards of ribbon bind
His hair en baton behind,
While his foretop's so high
That in the crown he may vie
With the tufted cockatoo.
Then his waist, so long and taper,
'Tis an absolute thread-paper:
Maids resist him, you that can.
Odd's life, if this is all th' affair,
I'll clap a hat on, club my hair,
And call myself a man."
Here is a calash or ribbed bonnet worn over the enormous head-dress of George Ill.'s ladies, plastered with feathers, bandeaux, lace, and flowers. One sees the hooped pannier skirt in all its glory, and the low, embroidered bodice, which again revealed the fair bosom of the lady of quality, and the sack-back dress drawn tight to the body.
It is a joy to see these rich brocades, more beautiful than anything ever made, exquisite in colour and design, superb in quality, so that, in spite of the centuries which have passed since they were worn by unknown women, they are as fresh and well preserved as though only yesterday the charming ladies of Georgian England had put on these gowns, gazing at their loveliness in oval mirrors before taking sedan-chairs to a fashionable assembly.
These embroidered coats of the Georgian "bloods," stiff with gold and silver thread, made of silk which has lost none of its rich quality, ravishing in colour, though a little faded here and there, might be worn to-morrow with brilliant success by any young aristocrat who goes to a fancy-dress ball as the ghost of his own ancestor.
The silk-weavers and textile manufacturers of Georgian England used the best material, and made their fabrics not for a London season, but for more than a lifetime. The women, too, in the quiet homes of England filled their hours with industry, and adorned their beauty with work of their own handicraft. They were good needlewomen in those davs, and their embroidery and lace-work belong to a fine art which has passed away for ever.
These dainty embroidered aprons, these lace shawls and collars, these bead purses, wrought with a cunning skill and a quick eye for beauty of design and colour, seem fragrant still with the spirit of those dear women of the past, whose nimble fingers were never idle, and who sat chatting of love and life, revealing to each other the little secrets of womanhood, telling each other their hopes and ideals, laughing over little scandals as they worked these dainty things, now kept as precious relics of their beauty. Like Fanny Burney, the girl-author of Evelina, they were educated in the art of "braid-stitch, cross-and-change, pinking, pointing and frilling," and all those other mysteries of needlework which were familiar to the young gentlewomen of the eighteenth century.
Here is a dress once belonging to a noble family, made of Spitalfields brocade, with purfled sleeves and fluttering gimp, as rich and perfect as any costume in the national heritage. One sees the craze for floral patterns which was characteristic of the period, so that even the men's coats and waistcoats grew these embroidered flowers, reminding one of that dress which Mrs. Delany saw at court in 1741.
"The Duchess of Queensberry's clothes pleased me best," she wrote. "They were white satin embroidered, the bottom of the petticoat as brown hills covered with ail sorts of weeds, and every breadth had an old stump of a tree that ran up almost to the top of the petticoat, round which twined nasturtiums, ivy, honeysuckle, periwinkles, convolvuluses, and all sorts of twining flowers which spread and covered the petticoat; vines with the leaves variegated as you have seen them by the sun, all rather smaller than nature, which makes them look very light; the robings and facings were little green banks with all sorts of weeds, and the sleeves and the rest of the gown loose, twining branches, of the same sort as those on the petticoat. Many of the leaves were finished with gold, and part of the stumps of the tree looked like the gilding of the sun."
There are examples here of the gradual growth of the hoop petticoat, which grew to prodigious proportions in the middle of the eighteenth century. Addison announced the reappearance of the hoop, which had been forgotten since the days of the great farthingale in Queen Elizabeth's reign. Relating an adventure in a Cornish church, he writes:
"As we were in the midst of the service a lady, who is the chief woman of the place, and had passed the winter at London with her husband, entered the congregation in a little head-dress and a hooped petticoat. The people, who were wonderfully startled at such a sight, all of them rose up. Some stared at the prodigious bottom, and some at the little top of this strange dress. In the meantime the lady of the manor filled the area of the church and walked up to her pew with unspeakable satisfaction, amid the whispers, conjectures, and astonishments of the whole congregation." These hoops disappeared early in the reign of George III., and the extravagance of the ladies of fashion was directed to the enormities of their head-dress.
One of the most charming costumes in the Talbot Hughes collection is a complete riding suit for a lady made in the masculine style, with coat and waistcoat, the latter being laced up at the back. In this very dress might Die Vernon have ridden to the chase, and Fielding describes the appearance of Sophia Western at the inn at Upton in a similar habit.
With the French Revolution an entire change of fashion took place, admirably shown by the costumes collected by Mr. Talbot Hughes. The elaborate splendour of the patch-and-powder period gave way to an extreme simplicity of dress in the classical style. The heavy brocaded and stiff flowered skirts were replaced by light gauzes and dainty muslins, which revealed the soft contours of the female form with a delightful and child-like grace. This lasted throughout the Empire period, and, indeed, for many years after Waterloo, until the crinoline came to put out the clinging draperies.
So startling was the change that in 1799 a Russian officer, accustomed at home to estimate the rank of a lady by the warmth of her clothing, offered a woman of fashion a penny in Bond Street, under the impression that, from her scantily clothed appearance, she must be a pauper.
There are some delightful specimens of this period in the Talbot Hughes collection - little, clinging frocks that must have fitted the ladies inside as closely as a glove, with low bodices and high waists, and with no room for a petticoat over the silk or cotton slip. Describing the fashion in Old Times, John Ashton writes: "I do not say that our English betters went to the extent of some of their French sisters of having their muslin dresses put on damp, and holding them tight to their figures till they dried, so as to absolutely mould them to their form, but their clothes were of the scantiest. As year succeeded year the fashion developed, if one can call diminution of clothing development."
That was again the exaggeration of fashion among smart women of high society; but in the middle classes the period was chiefly noted for a charming simplicity. It was Jane Austen's period, and, wandering among these costumes with Mr. Talbot Hughes, I was reminded again and again of the dear, delightful Jane.
Here is one of the "coquelicot," or poppy-coloured sashes, which she so much favoured, and the cambric muslins which one reads of so often in her letters, as when she wrote:
"I shall want two new coloured gowns for the summer, for my pink one will not do more than clear me from Steventon. I shall not trouble you, however, to get more than one of them, and that is to be a plain brown cambric muslin for morning wear; the other, which is to be a very pretty yellow and white cloud, I mean to buy in Bath."
Here are high-waisted gowns such as Jane Austen's heroines wore when they "pinned up each other's things for the dance," and little white caps which saved Jane herself "a world of torment as to hairdressing," and a cap of "satin and lace with a little white flower perking out of the left, ear, like Harriet Byron's feather," and the cloak, or pelisse, such as Jane wore when she went out for a walk in chilly weather, and the huge muff which is so characteristic, in pictures or the time.
The colours of these silks and cotton prints are delicate and "chaste," as Jane's young ladies would have said, but they must be described in the language of the time, which was somewhat fanciful.
"One lady," wrote Hannah More, "asked what was the newest colour. The other answered that the most truly fashionable silk was a soupcon de vert, lined with a soupir etouffé, et brodée de l'espérance. Now you must not consult your old-fashioned dictionary for the word espérance, for you will there find that it means nothing but hope, whereas espérance in the new language of the time means rose-buds."
The middle-class ladies of this time were very cunning in their way of titivatina old materials with new adornments, and one is reminded of Jane Austen's announcement:
"I have determined to trim my lilac sarsenet with lilac satin ribbon, just as my chine crape is. Sixpenny width at bottom, or fourpenny at top. Ribbon trimmings are all the fashion at Bath. With this addition it will be a very useful gown, happy to go anywhere."
Passing a post-boy's livery belonging to the period of George IV. - seen on the road to Brighton, perhaps, when the first gentleman in Europe drove on the box-seat, while Beau Brummell stuck his top boots out of the window - one's imagination is carried forward through the reigns of George IV. and William IV. to the Early Victorian period, the Talbot Hughes collection being rich in examples of those days.
Ladies' dresses had gradually developed a waist again, stays had returned to imprison the bodies of women, evening bodices were cut lower to show the sloping shoulders, skirts began to grow fuller, with stiff petticoats and with several flounces, light gauze scarves floated about the ladies' arms, and shoes were tied with ribbon about the ankles. The men wore tight-fitting, double-breasted coats, cut away at the waist, with a high collar and a frilled shirt-front; the cloth, or nankeen, or corduroy trousers appeared, generally strapped under the boot; and "the last of the dandies" completed his toilet with a heavy gold fob, and an eye-glass with a heavy black ribbon. A favourite fashion for women was a gauze trimming of flowers and bows, and Mr. Talbot Hughes showed me many beautiful specimens of this gauze-work which had a very charming effect.
Now we come to the crinoline skirt of the Early Victorian lady, strapped back in front at its first appearance, but gradually encircling the lady of fashion in a great circumference of whalebone. Here are the poke bonnets of our great grandmothers, their little Zouave jackets, their shawls, their dainty parasols, their fringed capes and mantles, and all the details of those quaint old dresses which are familiar to us in the early pages of Punch.
The crinoline, of course, was the most striking phase of fashion in the mid-Victorian era, and although it had been heralded by the gradual stiffening and widening of skirts and petticoats, its reign was the source of constant satire, in which Punch led the way.
Yet there is no conscious satire in the following advertisement in the Illustrated London News of October 10th, 1863, which announces that "Ondina or waved Jupons do away with the unsightly results of the ordinary hoops, and so perfect are the wave-like bands that a lady may ascend a steep stair, lean against a table, seat herself in an arm-chair, pass to a stall in the opera, or occupy a fourth seat in a carriage, without inconvenience to herself or others, or provoking rude remarks of her observers, thus modifying in an important degree all those peculiarities tending to destroy the modesty of English women; and lastly, it allows the dress to fall into graceful folds."
In spite of the crinoline, the dress of the Victorian era had many charming qualities, which remain in one's memory with sweetness and daintiness. Dolly Varden, Little Dorrit, Dora Copperfield, Kate Nickleby, and all the heroines of Charles Dickens, in their lace caps, their coal-scuttle bonnets, their rose-bud muslins and white lawn 'kerchiefs, their flounced skirts and coloured ribbons, were delightful creatures, whose simple charms were not marred by hideous dress. On the contrary, there is a fragrance, a beautiful simplicity, a child-like grace and innocence in the character of Early Victorian fashions which are wholly pleasing to the eye and heart.
Visitors to Mr. Talbot Hughes's collection will be fascinated by the delicate needlework, by the exquisite little trimmings, by the simple designs and patterns which were characteristic of those days when our great-grandmothers were courted by our great-grandfathers under the watchful eyes of maiden aunts and vigilant chaperons.
In the fancy-dress balls which have lately come into vogue again it is the Early Victorian costume which seems most pleasing and effective amidst all the grandeur and splendour of earlier periods, and Meredith's "dainty rogue in porcelain" is seen again in all her rose-bud beauty.
But whatever one's taste may be, here in the Talbot Hughes collection, shortly to be presented to the nation by Messrs. Harrods, who will exhibit it in their own show-rooms for a while, is a great part of the story of English costume displayed from period to period in all its changing fashions. The artist will find here a treasure-trove of models for his historical pictures, not taken from the theatrical property room, but from old houses where they were worn by the real characters of history in the long ago. The lady of fashion will find here the same spirit of beauty with which she now cIothes herself, as it was expressed through centuries of womanhood, and as it revealed and advanced the loveliness of fair women who have gone into the ghost-world, but whose gowns still seem to hold the fragrance of their charms, and to be touched by the spirit of those who wore them. Men of the modern world will sigh with envy at the glory of their predecessors, who were not victims of stove-pipe trousers and bowler hats, but who vied with their womanhood in elegance and splendour. Students of history will learn from this collection how the great characters of the past must have looked when they walked in the flesh from Whitehall to St. James's, or sat among the wits in the Fleet Street taverns, or played their card games at Almack's or White's, or whispered of plots or scandals in Kensington Palace, or bowed to the beauties of the Merry Monarch's court under the trees of the Mall.
A collection of costumes like this is a continual source of education and delight, and to anyone who has a little imagination beneath his hat there is something beyond a passing interest, something belonging to the heart of romance, in the finery of women who have gone into the great forgetfulness, in the dainty things they touched with living fingers that have long mouldered into dust, in those rare silks and fine brocades upon which they gazed with bright eyes that fell asleep in bygone yesterdays, in the Vanity Fair of fashion, with its ribbons and laces which have out-lasted their beauty.
Another treasure which has come to the Museum through the generosity of Messrs. Harrods is a remarkable collection of ancient shoes. They illustrate in most perfect sequence the whole history of footgear in England. from the fifteenth century onwards. One of them, which was found shrivelled up on the rafter of a house, is the only known perfect specimen of the fourteenth or first half of the fifteenth century. One is able to study the change from the pointed toe to the round toe which appeared in the middle of the fifteenth century, and continued till Queen Mary's reign, when it was forbidden, by an edict, to exceed six inches in breadth.
Most interesting are the short pointed shoes with horn-shaped toes, prettily cut at the edge, and very low at the sides, which was a characteristic type in the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. A clog with a wooden sole, belonging to the early sixteenth century, shows that the fashion which still persists in the North of England, where "the clang o' the wooden shoon" is heard when the workers go to the mills, is of very ancient date. Another item of unusual interest is a bone skate used in mediaeval times. It had a wooden peg in the back to hold a strip which fastened over the instep, and a leather thong also passed over a hole in the front to bind over the foot. Standing on this primitive skate, the wearer pushed himself along the ice with a spiked pole.
One piece of leather here has a tragic association. It is a typical shoe of Charles I's reign, and it was found in the plague-pits at Moorfields, where many dainty shoes went in the dance of death.
The history of England, indeed, might be written from the shoes in this collection, for they were worn by all the characters in our history, as the feet which were once covered by them tramped on the way to civil war, or tripped through the salons of the Restoration period, or went on tip-toe in the boudoirs of Queen Anne's ladies, or ran to see George I. ride through London and the Jacobite prisoners taken to the Tower, or walked with stately dignity in the Coronation procession of George II, or danced in the assembly rooms when George III. was king, or trembled at the fear of the French invasion, or marched sturdily to defend the coast from the Corsican ogre, or clattered across the polished floors of Early Victorian houses.
Here is a pair of lady's shoes, originally of fine red velvet, stitched with silk, which may have danced a fandango with "Dog Steenie" when the first James held high revels at his court at Whitehall.
Here is a pair of top boots, with spurs on the heels, which one of Cromwell's men wore when Cavallers and Puritans were fighting for the Crown,
These green brocade shoes, that yellow satin pair, may have belonged to pretty ladies whom the Merry Monarch ogled with his roguish black eyes.
Those flowered brocade shoes, of the late seventeenth century, which prove beyond a doubt that English workmanship was supreme at this time, must have been seen beneath the petticoats of ladies who flirted with their fans at St. James's Palace before the last Stuart had fled.
Here are shoes worked with silver brocade, of SpitalfieIds make, in dove silk, in brown, blue, and green satin, which may have been pointed in the minuets danced under the guidance of Beau Nash, or in the ball-rooms where the dandies of the eighteenth century vied with the elegance and splendour of the women.
What dainty creature of the court wore this pair of mouse-coloured silk shoes with their tiny heels, or what pretty lady once pirouetted in this pair of pale-pink shoes, set with rosettes, before the French Revolution altered all the fashions ?
A pair of white leather shoes shows the change of fashion with the declining heel and the revival of the square toe which came in before the battle of Waterloo. Several pairs of shoes with low heels belong to the time when ladies dressed like Grecian goddesses, with simple draperies.
Here is a pair of blue satin shoes actually worn by Queen Adelaide, and beautifully worked with the crown on the front, and roses round the heels; and close to them is a pair of slippers which Queen Victoria wore when she was the young mother of her people. They are of cream leather, painted with the monogram V.R. under the crown, set in a design of the rose, shamrock, and thistle.
Lastly, there are in this beautiful collection many shoes worn by the grandmothers of the present generation, when the crinoline was in fashion and when the Paisley shawl covered a multitude of pins.
To my mind there is something extraordinarily romantic in the whole collection, and I envy Mr. Talbot Hughes the joy he must have had in searching for them, in discovering them here and there, in out-of-the-way places, in finding the different types which cover all the periods. It is strange to think of the queer adventures in juxtaposition which may have brought these shoes together - the high top boots of a Roundhead standing next to the riding boots of his Royalist enemy; the dancing slippers of a maid-of-honour next to the shoes of the Georgian "blood" whom she flouted with the whisk of a fan; the shoes of dainty children, who never thought that they would be the grandmothers of other babes, whose little boots are now on the same shelf; the elegant slippers of a French marquise quite close to the clogs of an English milkmaid; the shoes of a queen side by side with those of a peasant-girl; the sandals of Richard Kemble, the actor, next to the ball-room shoes of a lady who clapped her hands to him from the stage box. One's imagination goes roving about them, finding many queer stories which fit old boots. With a little knowledge of history, these relics of leather and brocade and dainty satin may conjure up the romance of the past.
Although this collection of shoes cannot compare in beauty and charm with the costumes which they accompany, they are a very valuable asset to that pageant of dress, and complete its historical interest. Enough, indeed, has been said in this article to show that the Talbot Hughes collection is of the very highest importance as an addition to the national treasure house of antique things.
PLATE 1 (coloured) A Dress of the early 18th Century, with a fine example of Quilted Petticoat
PLATE 3 A Calash and Brocade Dress. 1775-95
PLATE 5 A Beautiful Plain Dress of Brown Silk, with an Apron of Gold Embroidery. 1750-70
PLATE 7 A Gentleman's Suit of Pale Blue Silk, Decorated with Beautiful Embroidery. 1770-85
PLATE 10 A Sack-Back Dress of Embroidered Eau-de-Nil Silk, The early part of George III Reign
PLATE 18 (coloured) A Dress of Charming Proportion in Beautiful French Brocade. Period 1775-85
PLATE 20 A Dress of the Male Style in vogue between 1780-95
PLATE 21 The Latest Mode of the 18th Century
PLATE 24 Girl's Tinsel Embroidered Muslin Dress. 1800-1810
18th Century Clothing
18th Century French Clothing
18th Century English Clothing
18th Century Colonial Clothing
18th Century Clothing Resources
Revolutionary War Costuming
Mara Riley's Costume Page
Revolutionary War Costuming Discussion Group
18th Century apparel / First hand accounts Early Textiles
Cherry Dawson, Milliner
1770 Men's Clothing layers
1770 Women's Clothing layers
1770 Girl's Clothing layers
1700 Women's Clothing layers
1700 Men's Clothing layers