Fashions 1837-1887

Author William Charles Brown British

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 852

In the back of this catalogue from Queen Victoria’s milliner, a disclaimer confirms that no British songbirds were sacrificed for its production. Nevertheless, a flock of hats in fine feather fills this page spread, flaunting designs fit for the royal family. The deluxe volume is illustrated with woodburytypes, an early photomechanical process with a rich tonal range to register varied velvets, silks, straws, and plumes. Hatstands and supports have been edited out of these images to suspend the specimens midair. Surreal to modern eyes, the effect accentuates the hats’ commodity status and implies inventory soaring out of stock.

Fashions 1837-1887, William Charles Brown (British, active late 19th century), Woodburytypes

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Third page spread