The Modern Venus: Dress, Underwear and Accessories in the late 18th-Century Atlantic World

Autor Elisabeth Gernerd
en Limba Engleză Paperback – 16 noi 2023
From rumps and stays to muffs and handkerchiefs, underwear and accessories were critical components of the 18th-century woman's wardrobe. They not only created her shape, but expressed her character, sociability, fashionability, and even political allegiances. These so-called ephemeral flights of fashion were not peripheral and supplementary, but highly charged artefacts, acting as cultural currency in contemporary society. The Modern Venus highlights the significance of these elements of a woman's wardrobe in 1770s and 1780s Britain and the Atlantic World, and shows how they played their part in transforming fashionable dress when this was expanding to new heights and volumes. Dissecting the female silhouette into regions of the body and types of dress and shifting away from a broad-sweeping stylistic evolution, this book explores these potent players within the woman's armoury. Marrying material, archival and visual approaches to dress history, and drawing on a rich range of sources - including painted portraiture, satirical prints, diaries, memoirs - The Modern Venus unpacks dress as a medium and mediator in women's lives. It demonstrates the importance of these overlooked garments in defining not just a woman's silhouette, but also her social and cultural situation, and thereby shapes our understanding of late 18th-century life. With over 125 color images, The Modern Venus is a remarkable resource for scholars, students and costume lovers alike.
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ISBN-13: 9781350293373
ISBN-10: 1350293377
Pagini: 280
Ilustrații: 127 color illus
Dimensiuni: 189 x 246 x 25 mm
Greutate: 0.45 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Locul publicării:London, United Kingdom


Illustrated in full color throughout, images draw from a wide range of collections: British Museum; National Portrait Gallery; Museum of London in the UK; and Yale University, DeWitt Wallace Collection, NY Public Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the US

Notă biografică

Elisabeth Gernerd is a historian of 18th-century dress, art and material culture. She is Lecturer in Design Cultures at De Montfort University, UK, and former postdoctoral fellow at Historic Royal Palaces, UCLA, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.


List of FiguresAcknowledgementsList of AbbreviationsIntroduction: Fashioning the Modern Venus1. Head First: Brimmed Hats and Calashes on the Tides of Fashion 2. 'Let Us Examine Their Tails': The Material and Satirical Lifecycles of Cork Rumps and Bums 3. By Hand: Silk and Fur Muffs 4. Tight Lacing: The Motifs and Materiality of Stays Conclusion: 'The Fickle Goddess'BibliographyIndex


Meticulously researched and methodologically innovative, The Modern Venus reveals how underwear and accessories shaped not just women's bodies, but their engagement with the world. This sumptuous book is a must read for anyone interested in 18th-century material, literary and visual culture.
A seriously interesting fashion history book on late 18th-century underwear and accessories, based on first-rate research. Great images, highly readable and intelligently planned and written.