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With grace & favour by Otto Charles Thieme
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With grace & favour (1993)

by Otto Charles Thieme

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This is a gorgeous book: the costumes are photographed in full color with large reproductions. Cincinnati obviously has many wonderful pieces in its museum. There are 43 full color (or should I say colour, to go with the title) of costume. A few are details of a costume shown in another plate, otherwise the plates most often contain one, but sometimes 2 or 3 costumes. The pictures have brief captions with them, and more detailed information is included towards the end of the book. There are, in addition, more than 20 black and white historic illustrations.

This has a more substantial text than many similar works. The are separate chapters on "Acquiring a French Wardrobe", "The Fabric Scrapbooks of Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh, "Healthful, Artistic and Correct Dress". the bulk of the text is a review of fashion from 1837-1912. The text is happily divided into shorter time periods for a more detailed and meaningful discussion. This modern reader smiled at seeing the styles for 1866-1868 described as "severe", although of course, in context that makes sense. The divisions are not be a set scheme, but according to what the author deems best giving the flow of fashion.

There is much additional factual material: a list of abbreviations, a list of sources cited, notes, a glossary, a bibliography and a detailed index. Not only eye-candy, but a good research source.

I'm glad that I didn't wear, or worse, have to clean this kind of clothing, but as always for this period, the dresses are swooningly beautiful. ( )
  juglicerr | Jul 28, 2009 |
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