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Victorian Fashions: A Pictorial Archive, 965 Illustrations (Dover Pictorial Archive) Paperback – January 12, 1998

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Frequently Bought Together

Victorian Fashions: A Pictorial Archive, 965 Illustrations (Dover Pictorial Archive) + Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 (Dover Fashion and Costumes) + Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from "La Mode Illustrée" (Dover Fashion and Costumes)
Price for all three: $43.36

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Women's fashions during the second half of the nineteenth century offered a delightful display of styles reflecting English, French, and American tastes. This comprehensive treasury of more than 900 crisp black-and-white illustrations―arranged chronologically and dated by year―provides a rich pictorial record of clothing styles from that period. Suitable for a wide variety of graphic projects, these cuts will especially appeal to artists and illustrators in search of finely rendered images of authentic Victorian fashions.
Selected by graphic artist Carol Belanger Grafton from such vintage sources as Harper's Bazar, La Mode Illustrée, Peterson's Magazine, Godey's Salon de la Mode and Frank Leslie's Ladies' Magazine, the cuts brim with clear detail and old-time flavor as they record a wealth of evolving styles―from ornate gowns of the mid-1800s, widened by hoop skirts and elaborately enhanced with ribbons, ruffles, laces, and bows, to turn-of-the-century fashions that produced leg-o'-mutton sleeves, narrowed skirts, diminished bustles, and high-necked bodices (except for evening wear, which exhibited a more daring neckline).
Here, for copyright-free use, are hundreds of elegant dresses accented with intricately embroidered designs, shirtwaists featuring lace inserts, and row upon row of tiny pleats, tightly laced undergarments, wide-brimmed hats topped with feathers, flowers, and ribbon; beaded handbags, magnificent parasols, fur-trimmed capes, and much, much more.
An invaluable reference to period clothing styles for designers, illustrators, and costume historians, this magnificent archive―with its entertaining glimpse of the fashions of yesteryear―will also delight casual browsers and lovers of Victoriana.
Original Dover (1999) publication.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Pictorial Archive
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1st edition (January 12, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486402215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486402215
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Admire on August 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every student of 19th-century fashion needs to have six books from Dover Publications in his or her library:

- Victorian Fashions and Costumes from 'Harper's Bazar', Stella Blum;

- Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from La Mode Illustree, Joanne Olian;

- Wedding Fashions 1860-1912, Joanne Olian;

- Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey, Alison Gernsheim;

- English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century, C. Willett Cunnington;

- and this book.

Carol Grafton's book is really more of an assemblage of pictures for illustrators than anything else, but what pictures! Over 900 B&W drawings lovingly display every little detail of the elaborate costumes of the Victorian and early Edwardian eras from the mid-1850's to 1903. This book doesn't have much in the way of text so it's not as comprehensive a research resource as some of the others that I've mentioned, but as an auxiliary resource to the other books on the above list, it's perfect.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would rank this book just behind Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 (Dover Pictorial Archives) by Stella Blum and Full-Color Victorian Fashions : 1870-1893 by JoAnne Olian. If you have to be selected go with the first two before this one, but I still highly recommend this to round out the collection. More than 900 very detailed crisp drawing from the marvelous people at Dover Publishing again. They bring you inexpensive books that are a wealth of information, writers of period romance just cannot live without.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. Blaser on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a lovely, simple book. There's a one page introduction at the beginning, and the rest of book is comprised of detailed black and white illustrations from a variety of publications (Godey's Lady's Book, Peterson's Magazine, Harper's Bazar, La Mode Ilustree, etc.) About 7 to 8 outfits/accessories are shown per page. Pages are ordered chronologically with the year at the bottom.

My only issue with this book is that the content is not quite evenly distributed; nearly 75% of the book is dedicated to the 1880's and '90's, while the 1850's, '60's, and '70's receive much less attention. I'm not sure if this is a result of older material being hard to find, but I personally would have preferred a more uniform distribution of the material.

For those who are curious, here are the number of pages dedicated to specific years:

1855-1859 - 1 page
1860-1864 - 4 pages
1865-1869 - 6 pages
1870-1874 - 6.5 pages
1875-1879 - 5.5 pages
1880-1884 - 9 pages
1885-1889 - 15 pages
1890-1894 - 28 pages
1895-1899 - 28 pages
1900-1903 - 22 pages

Nonetheless, it's a beautiful book. If you're looking for a cursory look of Victorian fashion or more specifically interested in the '80's and '90's, I would definitely recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ulla on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic collection of JUST illustrations, in wonderful detail and in Victorian pen/ink drawing style.

This is a great resource for the following users:

Any surface designers: these illustrations can be scanned in, recolored and used in a variety of surface and product designs
Writers: a great visual reference to describe characters' clothing in gothic novels or short stories
Fashion Design students: as reference, an idea source on design details or to practice sketching
Scrapbookers/crafters: a variety of projects, my favorite being scanning in at high resolution, enlarging in any design software and doing a heat transfer on canvas to create Pottery barn/Anthropologie style pillows
Costume Designers; great reference for any theatrical production of this period, with tons of ideas.
Web designers: a huge collection of images for any websites that call for a vintage feel - boutiques, collectors, restaurants and events.

I do wish that this book had a CD-Rom included, but its not really a big deal - I find that i do not even use the scanner to import the images most of the time, but snap a picture with my phone and upload it.

This book as exactly as the title describes: illustrations. I think that some of the 1 and 2 star reviews on this item are unfair with complains about the lack of descriptions or exact historical references.
It is JUST illustrations, and anyone seeking a more informative resource should do more research about the item, rather than leave bad reviews.
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By chiare darlene frazier on January 3, 2014
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If you are like me and you can create a outfit just by looking at a picture then this is the book for you, The pictures are clear and detailed, there are no actual pictures it is all illustrations what a wealth of ideas and variations
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By Athana on February 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wish it was in color, because that's my weak point, but the designs are so intricate and lovely that I don't mind. If you like victorian fashion and need some historical reference, I recommend.
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I like the book but it is literally just a picture book. There are no explanatinos or catergories, the book only has the years on the bottom of the pages. But other wise fun to look at.
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By Andrew B. Marlay on September 7, 2013
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This a really wonderful and very well designed book. The images are superb and widely varied. Excellent additon to any costume designer's or fashion historian's reference library.
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