Fashion and Fiction in Stuart England

Fashion and Fiction : dress in art and literature
in Stuart England

by Aileen Ribeiro, ISBN 0-300-10999-7
Published by Yale University Press in 2005.
Purchased from the Victorian National Gallery, Melbourne.

This is not a lace book as such, but it has lots of wonderful portraits of the period, which of course required a lot of lace for a fashionable look!
It’s a big, heavy (387 p.) coffee-table publication, the kind of thing you’d probably prefer to borrow from your local library than buy, unless you’re also interested in costume, because the text is very in depth.
Looking at the photos, which are all in colour except when the original was in B&W, you can follow clearly the progression of lace design to suit the dress. It starts witrh high reticella collars and cuffs in the Jacobean period, a bit like the ones worn by Queen Elizabeth I, through the flat Dutch bobbin laces dear to Van Dyck and the rivers of lace cascading from the haeddresses and collars of the end of the 17th century to the more modest and finer bobbin laces of the first years of the 18th century.
As a lacemaker, I deplore the absence of a chapter just about lace, but the paintings are absolutely fabulous, many of them from private collections, which are not often seen, and the author has included quite a few enlargements of lace details, as seen in the sample photos scanned.
An expensive buy, but I don’t regret it one bit!

Review by Helene Gannac

Fashion and Fiction