Dressed to Express:
Costume in Victorian Illustration

The phrase “clothes make the man” was a truth universally acknowledged in Victorian Britain. Dress expressed one’s place in a hierarchical society with limited opportunity for social mobility. Fashion defined social class, gender, and occupation and “made” a gentleman or a lady.

Dressed to Express: Costume in Victorian Illustration includes nineteenth-century novels, periodicals, and memoirs that illustrate how dress transformed those who wore it and beheld it.

Men and women socially embraced strict fashion etiquette, while caricaturists such as George Cruikshank openly mocked them. The exhibition showcases many Victorian illustrators who both idealized and satirized clothing of the period. Works in the exhibition come from the Norman M. Fox Collection, Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College, and the Historical Society of Saratoga Springs.
Exhibition Name
Dressed to Express:
Costume in Victorian Illustration
Exhibition Type
Student Curated
Faculty Curated
Winter Gallery
Mar 19, 2002 - Apr 14, 2002
Dressed to Express is organized by Catherine Golden, Professor of English, Skidmore College with students in “The Victorian Illustrated Book” (LS2 101H).
George Cruikshank, John Leech, Marcus Stone, Sir John Tenniel
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