Thursday, April 3, 2014

Barbara Johnson 18th c. Album

I just found out through the wonderful At the Sign of the Golden Scissors blog that the 18th century Barbara Johnson Album is online at the Victorian and Albert Museum.

Barbara Johnson Album page - from Victoria and Albert Museum

From the description, "Album with textile samples and fashion plates, compiled by Barbara Johnson, England, 1746-1823.".  This book is an incredibly valuable resource for looking at what an upper-class woman in England wore throughout much of the 18th century.  In many cases Barbara Johnson records what she bought, how much she bought, what she paid and sometimes what she had the fabric made into.  The book spans a large portion of her life and there are a large variety of dresses and a couple mourning periods, for relatives or the King, and she records what she wore for those periods as well. 

The album has been reproduced as a book.  It is quite large and very nice.  But, it is also out of print and extremely expensive.  My local library, SF Public, has a copy at the Reference Desk, and I've made color photocopies of some of the pages while doing research on specific costumes.

I'm very excited to see that it is available online, even if the images are small, and I hope it inspires other costumers as well.

It makes me wonder if in 200 years costumers will be looking at everyone's what-I-wore blogs and using those to put together their early 21st century events!
(Let's have an IPO-theme party, everyone dress hipster and we'll pretend to tweet....)