Thursday 2 December 2010

Dress of the People - John Styles

I had a lovely time on Tuesday, talking to John Styles, curator of the Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum and author of this fabulous book, The Dress of the People. (I am toying with whether or not I should mention that John is the husband of Amanda Vickery....and comes from my home town!) John has analysed the samples of textiles - around 5,000 - left with the children at the Foundling Hospital as a basis for this book. While we have many wonderful court dresses and richly wrought items of costume in museums, garments which belonged to everyday people are very rare indeed. This is simply because they would have been worn to rags, or would have been cut up and patched for other items. The book shows details of more textile tokens left with the foundlings. If you can possibly bring yourself to buy the book direct from the Foundling Museum, that would be a great boost to them. If you live overseas and the postage is too much to contemplate, then copies are available through Amazon. In any event perhaps you might feel moved to make a donation to the Foundling Museum via their web-site.


  1. I am glad you posted this book~ I do HIGHLY recommend it. I have read and re read it several times after purchasing it early last year~ and there is an entire chapter with many photos about the Foundling Hospital. The book is well researched, and written in a way that holds one's attention, dare I say, 'An Exilirating Read', in my own opinion. I am here in America, and also wanted to add, that I ordered the catalogue for the exibit yesterday over the phone, and couldnt be more delighted with the service~ THANKYOU for posting about it!

  2. Thank you so much for your feedback - I am delighted you had this positive experience.