Our regular programme of Walks, Talks and Events is for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of the rich history and legacy of the Huguenots in Spitalfields and further afield.

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Spitalfields Silk and Men’s Fashions 1690-1840 Zoom Lecture

October 28 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

James Leman - copyright V&A Museum
James Leman – copyright V&A Museum

This lecture will examine fashionable menswear in England in the eighteenth century and its use of Spitalfields’ silks, as well their links to Huguenot designers, where known. The study of Spitalfields’ silks has focussed on large-scale patterns, of which surviving fabrics, original designs and point papers often survive. Predominantly used for women’s gowns, sacks and mantuas, these elaborate silks were also used for men’s informal gowns and banyans. For men’s suits of coat, waistcoat and breeches, small-scale silk patterns were appropriate. By the early nineteenth-century, men’s coats and breeches were made of plain dark wools with only the waistcoat retaining colourful patterned Spitalfields silks.

Dr Susan North is Curator of Fashion before 1800 at the V&A Museum. She has co-authored three pattern books of seventeenth-century fashion and her most recent V&A publication is 18th-Century Fashion in Detail. She is the author of Sweet and Clean? Bodies and clothes in early modern England, published by Oxford University Press in 2020.


Susan North, hosted by Theo Bosanquet
£10 Donation
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