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The clothing worn in the past affords an invaluable insight into lifestyles that have disappeared forever. Choice of dress has always been affected by numerous influences - social and economic, artistic and technical - and, of course, the vagaries of individual taste. In this delightfully illustrated book, a unique account is offered of the history of dress over four centuries.
Drawing on the rich resources of Britain's National Trust properties, which include numerous costume and textile collections, revealing painted portraits, and extensive documentation in the form of family correspondence, diaries, and household papers, Jane Ashelford goes beyond a mere chronicle of cut, shape, and decoration. She looks at the social aspects of dress - how styles were conveyed, how and where materials and clothing were purchased, and what people wore at all levels of society and at all ages, from swaddling bands to widow's weeds.
Many remarkable ensembles are seen here, often for the first time, in spectacular photographs specially commissioned from Andreas von Einsiedel. Men's, women's, children's, and servant's attire and accessories provide vital information about the taste, preoccupations, and aspirations of the individuals who wore them, and the world in which they lived.
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