All posts filed under: Reviews: resources, books, museums

Museums are not infallible

This topic has been brewing in my mind for some time, and I was prompted to post on it due to American Duchesses’ post about stays, and Abby of Stay-ing Alive’s survey (which you should take if you haven’t!). This post is based on my experience working for museums, and is meant to provide a greater insight into how we (as historical costumers), can use them. Museums are a fantastic resource for historical costumers.  As the caretakers of historical artifacts, they hold the ultimate resources: original garments.  They also frequently supply valuable research on original garments.   However Museums are not infallible. Everything that a museum or its representatives says or writes is not necessarily accurate.  As a more-than-averagely intelligent person (I automatically assume that anyone who reads my blog is more-than-averagely intelligent!) with a particular interest and background in the area, you should feel free to question and improve on their information. The Tate identifies this woman as “heavily pregnant”, but American Duchess suggested that the ‘pregnancy’ is in illusion/affectation provided by the fashions …

Friday Review: Underwear in Detail

Madame Ornata bought herself V&A’s new ‘in detail’ book Underwear: Fashion in Detail, and was kind enough to lend it to me to drool over use for research and review purposes. So here is the review! The Good: Images of lots & lots of gorgeous, unique, and interesting undergarments, all supported by excellent research. The book is particularly good at featuring unique one-off garments, or at least garments that are less discussed. The Bad: ‘Underwear in Detail’ has the same problem that all the ‘In Detail’ books have: it can’t decide what it is.  Is it a costume history book?  Than why some of the artsier detail pics?  Is it a history book?  Then why divide the information into such peculiar chunks around the book.  Is it an art book?  Then why all the background info and sketches? Despite their problems, the previous ‘In Detail’ books managed to walk a very narrow and occasionally visibly wobbly tightrope between coffee table pretty and serious history book, one that appealed to both the pedestrian fashion lover and …

Friday Review: Beloved at the DPAG

Beloved: Works from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery 12 Dec 2009-30 Oct 2011 What it is: An exhibition on favourite works from the DPAG’s collections, ranging from Medieval madonnas, through NZ classics such as Goldie, right up to contemporary mixed-media sculpture. As a bit of background, you should know that DPAG has an amazing art collection which includes a fantastic selection (probably the best in a NZ museum) of European art, including such costuming favourites as Gainsborough, Tissot, and a selection of Pre-Raphaelite  artists. The DPAG is also a beautiful museum: easy to navigate, elegantly designed, well situated, and eminently suitable for displaying art. Not surprisingly, I was extremely excited about having the opportunity to visit and to see the Beloved exhibition. The Good: All my favourite artworks were on display: the Tissot, the Gainsborough, the Reynolds, the Monet, the Forbes (if the direct links don’t work, search by artist last name), as well as some less well known charmers, and some more challenging modern art (do check out the Don Driver). The Bad: The exhibition ran …