HoW: History on Wednesday seminar series 16 October
Sarah Bendall | University of Sydney
They do swarm through all parts of London: The place of the Bodymaking and Farthingalemaking trades in the Textile Industries of Seventeenth-Century London
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the female silhouette underwent a dramatic change. This period saw the frequent addition of solid materials such as whalebone, wood, and metal into European wardrobes, and clothing was intentionally distorted as ideas of form, size and structure were artfully explored. The desirable body during this period was achieved by using two main foundation garments: bodies and farthingales. Accounts and bills reveal that tailors often made foundation garments; however, these records also show that two separate, specialised branches of tailoring –bodymaking and farthingalemaking –were also established in the late sixteenth century. Scarcely any scholarly investigation of these trades has been conducted and so we know very little about their significance to England’s textile industries. Utilising guild records, household accounts and artisans’ bills this paper explores the origins, scale, organisation and reputation of these trades in the seventeenth century. It seeks to recover these artisans from historical obscurity and put them back into the bustling textile landscape that characterised the craft trades of early modern London.
Sarah A Bendall is currently an Associate lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. She was previously a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Western Australia, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Bodleian Libraries Oxford and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. Her research examines the history of dress, jewellery and armour in early modern England, Scotland and France, particularly in relation to ideas of gender and the histories of garment production/consumption. Her work has appeared in Gender and History, Renaissance Studies and Fashion Theory. Her PhD (Sydney) examined how sixteenth and seventeenth-century female foundation garments (bodies and farthingales) shaped both the body and notions of femininity in England. Her current research examines the textile industries that that sourced and produced garments made with baleen (whalebone), to examine the relationship between fashion and ecology in early modern Europe.
The Department of History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
HoW will be held in the MECO Seminar Room S226
Woolley Building A20
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The Department of History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)