From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress, 1837-1877

From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress, 1837–1877

Goldthorpe, Caroline
88 pages
55 illustrations
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This lively, illustrated book about Victorian costume during the first part of Queen Victoria's reign is a delightful introduction to a particularly rich era in costume history. From Queen to Empress vividly evokes fashionable society in Victorian England and America through paintings of the period, contemporary illustrations and photographs, and striking costume photographs taken especially for this volume.

In separate chapters devoted to royal influence, underdress, evening and day wear, mourning attire, wedding clothes, and court dress, the author, a member of the staff of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, offers a highly readable account of the ways in which fashion influenced the dress of all but the very poorest sections of the population.

By 1837, the year of Victoria's accession to the throne, the simple silhouette and printed cottons of the early nineteenth century had already begun to give way to a more elaborate style of dress. Luxurious silks and an extraordinary diversity of shapes—including huge domed skirts and elaborately molded corsets made possible by new dressmaking techniques—marked the fashionable Victorian woman by the time Queen Victoria was declared Empress of India.

From Queen to Empress accompanies an exhibition opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 1988.

Met Art in Publication

Queen Victoria, Thomas Sully  American, Oil on canvas, American
Thomas Sully
Dress, silk, British
ca. 1842
Morning dress, wool, British
ca. 1844
Benediction veil, Bobbin lace, Brussels bobbin lace, Flemish, Brussels
Morning dress, cotton, American
ca. 1840
Dress, silk, American
Dress, silk, linen, wool, British
ca. 1850
Ensemble, silk, wool, American or European
ca. 1850
Dress, silk, British
Dress, silk, British
ca. 1865
Dress, silk, probably French
ca. 1864
Morning dress, silk, British
Dress, silk, British
ca. 1870
Skating ensemble, (a) silk, fur; (b) silk, British
Walking dress, silk, cotton, American
Dress, silk, probably British
Evening dress, silk, American or European
ca. 1842
Ball gown, silk, cotton, probably American
ca. 1860
Dinner dress, Mon. Vignon  French, silk, glass, French
Mon. Vignon
Wedding dress, silk, cotton, probably French
ca. 1844
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View Citations

Goldthorpe, Caroline, and Costume Institute, eds. 1988. From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837 - 1877 , an Exhibition at The Costume Institute, December 15, 1988 - April 16, 1989. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art [u.a.].