Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages

Henry Shaw - Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages (1843)

Open Library direct link (volume one)
Open Library direct link (volume two)
Open Library main page

The DNB lists Henry Shaw (1800-1873) as a "architectural draughtsman, engraver, illuminator, and antiquary" but he was also a prolific author of books on medieval and early Renaissance design and decoration.  I don't know if this one is typical but it's a beautiful work as you can see from the illustrations below.  Most images are followed by two or three pages of background and description making this a great book for browsing.  It's not exclusively clothing since there is also material on rooms (what would be called interior design today), religious artifacts (some astonishing reliquaries) and even architecture.  I like that the text is done as if it was an illuminated manuscript.