Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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66 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 the ornament bo okshelf Anna Reynolds. 2013 In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. Royal Collection Trust: 299 pp., hardcover $75.00. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Anna Reynolds, Aileen Ribeiro, and Georgina Ripley. 2013 Robe. Royal Collection Trust: 49 pp., paperback £3.95. Many exhibitions of Tudor and Stuart portraiture have included dazzling representations of dress, but In Fine Style is the first to bring fashion to the forefront. Combining both iconic and little-known portraits from the British Royal Collection with rare examples of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century dress from museums around the world, the exhibition and its sumptuous catalogue celebrate the intersection of art and fashion in one of the most ornamental periods of history. Reynolds has pulled off a curatorial magic act, tracking down surviving garments with an uncanny resemblance to those portrayed in portraits: linen ruffs, leather jerkins, embroidered gowns, and fringed gloves (but, alas, no codpieces). Portrait busts capture the sculptural nature of Tudor and Stuart clothing; genre scenes fill in the missing back and side views. These artworks are complemented by information found in contemporary diaries, etiquette books, letters, bills, and inventories, which are so detailed that they have helped historians identify sitters in paintings. For the English elite, "rich clothing was not seen as a sign of weakness and ostentation but as a legitimate and admirable proclamation of an individual's worth." In 1588, the Earl of Leicester paid more for a doublet than Shakespeare paid for a house; Mary II ordered forty-three pairs of shoes in the autumn of 1694 alone. Artists often reserved their most expensive pigments for painting costume. Jewels were not an optional accessory but essential for men and women alike; they were often sewn directly onto garments. Little jewelry from the period survives, however, making portraiture a doubly valuable record. Men's fashions "matched their female counterparts in materials, expense and complexity of design and surface decoration... Moreover, men were subject to similar manipulations of the body to produce an ideal figure." Padding and corseting created broad shoulders and small waists. William III is often considered reserved, but that reputation crumbles in the face of a surviving pair of his knitted silk stockings in vivid green. Many fashion trends of the time can be traced to individual members of the royal family; Catharine of Aragon, for example, introduced blackwork embroidery to England from Spain. Fashion magazines did not yet exist, but familial and diplomatic connections between the courts of Europe meant that portraits were exchanged, transmitting styles internationally at the highest levels of society. Though there are "surprisingly few accounts of the process of sitting for a portrait and choosing the clothing," Reynolds produces a fascinating chapter on artistic practices. Monarchs sometimes had lackeys pose for portraits in their clothes to avoid the tedium of multiple sittings. Reynolds makes judicious use of artists' preparatory drawings, with their revealing annotations and precise records of dress details. She notes that "many [painters] who excelled in depictions of clothing and accessories had family backgrounds that would have exposed them to fabrics or jewellery from an early age." By the end of the period, however, the precision of Nicholas Hilliard gave way to the looser, impressionistic style of Anthony van Dyck, and "many English portraits show their sitters self-consciously avoiding the formality of court dress," preferring amorphous draperies. Other chapters examine masque costume, children's dress, and armor. There are detailed analyses of the most common textiles and an extensive glossary. While Reynolds' approach will be familiar to fans of Aileen Ribeiro's books, this period has not been covered in depth before, and Reynolds was granted unprecedented access to the royal treasures. It is also worth seeking out Robe. Available at www. royalcollection.org.uk, this instructive parody imagines what Vogue might have looked like in the seventeenth century, with headlines like "How to deal with smallpox scars" and "More ash than cash: Your capsule wardrobe after the Great Fire." Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell Floor Kaspers. 2011 Beads from Briare. The story of a bead revolution from France. Blurb, Marblings Publishing: 74 pp., $21.09 softbound, $1.99 digital in iPad format. While most in the bead community believe Venice and the Czechs were the important producers of glass beads for the colonial trade, Kaspers provides strong evidence that the Bapterosses factory in Briare, France, was just as much a major player, by adapting a modified Prosser technique. The original

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