Tuesday 15 August 2017

Book Review: Tudor Fashion - Dress at Court by Eleri Lynn

Title: Tudor Fashion: Dress at Court
Author: Eleri Lynn
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 12 September 2017
Pages: 182
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: History/Non-Fiction/Fashion
Source: ARC via NetGalley

The Tudor monarchs and their courtiers are some of the best-known figures in history. They continue, even today, to spark our curiosity and imagination. Their enduring popularity is no doubt partly due to the iconic portraits in which they are depicted in magnificent style, in farthingales and ruffs, furs and jewels, codpieces and cloaks, and vast expanses of velvet and silk. Far from being mere decoration, fashion was pivotal in the communication of status and power.  It was used as a tool in securing and holding the tenuous Tudor throne and as a competitive weapon in the factions, intrigues and love-affairs of the court.

This book presents new information about the fashions of the Tudor dynasty, offering fresh insight into their social and political milieu. Histories of Kings and Queens complement stories of unsung dressmakers, laundresses, and officials charged with maintaining and transporting the immense Tudor wardrobes from palace to palace. Evidence from rare surviving garments and textiles, original documents, fine and decorative art, and archaeological findings enhance our understanding of the Tudors and their courts. Handsomely illustrated, this sumptuous book contextualises Tudor dress within the buildings in which it was worn and fills in gaps in our knowledge of the period and its fascinating historical figures.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

Tudor Fashion was a fun and insightful read that kept me turning the pages. It was great to learn about the items of clothing in the context of the political situations at the time that affected the fashions of the day. The book also offered a great overview of the different pieces of clothing and styles, making this a great resource for the historical fiction author as well as the social historian. Obviously this book focuses on the court--royalty and nobles--and at times I yearned to know what the working class people were wearing at the time as well, but perhaps there's another potential book there in the future! For now, what this book sets out to do it does well, and no one interested in historical costume would be disappointed if they picked up this title.

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