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Costume, portraiture and the presentation of the individual have been intimately linked throughout the history of art. But while the face of a person in a portrait seems to speak directly across the ages, the significance of their dress can be more inscrutable. Lavishly illustrated throughout with paintings and drawings, this beautiful publication considers how fashion is deployed in 190 portraits from the National Portrait Gallery's collection. Authors Aileen Ribeiro and Cally Blackman explore the purpose and original context of the dress in which sitters were depicted, from the magnificent damasks and furs worn by Queen Elizabeth I to the revolutionary simplicity of the cottons, linens and woolen cloth adopted by Mary Wollstonecraft. Packed with photographs that provide additional insights into the costumes, and complemented by related material including fabric designs and jewelry, this authoritative guide explores one of the most fascinating aspects of historical portraiture.

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