Lorelei’s query about fashion history books is a good question. The problem
encountered by the lace historian is to try to figure out what all these
pieces of lace in museum collections started out trying to be. It is very
vexing, and I wish I understood the topic better.
I have found the books by Aileen Ribeiro to be very helpful.

The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France, 1750-1820
Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England 
Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe 1715-1789 

A problem with a lot of books is that they cover such a long period that they
don’t spend much time on any particular era, and thus any time spent on lace
is infinitesimal. That said, I find on my shelf:
Four Hundred Years of Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum,
The Visual History of Costume, Ribeiro & Coming,
Accessories of Dress, An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Lester & Oerke
The Art of Dress, Clothes and Society, 1500-1914, Jane Ashelford
Victorian and Edwardian Fashion, A photographic survey, Alison Gernstein

This last book is a Dover book that I picked up at Craftsman Farm in
Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, the workshop of Gustav Stickley, a designer for the
Arts and Crafts movement. This book has the merit that pictures don’t lie.
Any book that is actually written about fashion quite likely leaves out the
lace as unimportant. But photographs of the late 19th and early 20th century
can show lace on them. It is mostly these strange shaped accessories that one
does find in museum collections, and antique shows, sometimes even composed of
older lace. So, my only fault with this book is that I wish there were more
photographs and even less writing.

Devon




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