Habit of an English Lady of Quality, in 1640, After Hollar, 1757
Habit of an English Woman of Quality, in 1640 engraved after Wenceslaus Hollar, 1757.
This copper-plate engraving shows some of the key changes in women's fashion during the first half of the seventeenth century. The ruff has been replaced by a broad flat collar. The woman is also wearing a kerchief which was often lace trimmed to match the collar. Waistline length changed until finally stopping at a natural length with a slight low point in the front. Sleeves became full and loose and the outer sleeve was often slashed to reveal the chemise beneath it. A simple string of pearls became a popular accessory and hair styles were less severe, often featuring gentle waves that framed the face. By 1640 skirt styles had changed in favor of a long smooth look. Clothing fabrics also became lighter and brighter in color, with pastel satins becoming extremely popular, especially in England and France.
Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) was an etcher born in Prague, who lived an worked most of his life in England. He decided to pursue art instead of law and his earliest works are dated 1625. He attracted the attention of Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, in 1636 and began working for him. Following the Earl's death he began working for the Duke of York, but he also worked for authors and booksellers. The English Civil War hurt him financially and even after the Restoration he struggled to make a living as many booksellers refused to publish his works. However his "Views of London" after the Great Fire were fairly successful which may have contributed to the King's decision to send Hollar to Tangier to draw the town and fort, in 1668. Unfortunately Hollar died in a state of extreme poverty, despite having produced more than two thousand plates over the course of his career.
Thomas Jefferys (1719-1771) was an English cartographer who held the titles Geographer to the Prince of Wales and Geographer to King George III. He was the leading map supplier at the time, producing maps for commercial and governmental purposes. His maps and atlases covered a wide range of subjects, including many maps of North America. He published The Small English Atlas with Thomas Kitchin (1719-1784). Jefferys produced A Plan of all the Houses Destroyed and Damaged by the Great Fire, which began in Exchange Alley Cornhill, Friday March 25, 1748, while he was acting as Geographer to the Prince of Wales. In 1757, his A Collection of Dresses of Different Nations, Antient [sic] and Modern was published. The finished work comprised four volumes contain four hundred eighty engravings. This print was from volume two.
- Naomi Bean