We spent this past weekend in Cape Cod and I discovered a treasure trove of antique shops on every other corner. I only made it to two stores but found oodles to ooh and aah over and, of course, came home with some treasures.
My first stop was The Antiques Center of Cape Cod, on Route 6A in Dennis Mass. Tucked at the bottom of a shelf (which I almost missed) was a copy of the 1987 Thames & Hudson book A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson's Album of Styles and Fabrics.
I'm probably the last to discover this book but what a fabulous resource! Born in 1738, Miss Johnson was a fashionista who recorded the changing styles of the 18th century. The inside jacket reads, "A single lady from a well-to-do family...she compiled samples of fabrics--often richly colored--attached to pieces of paper on which she described the garments that were made for her." For example...
A callicoe gown, August 1787
An English Chintz, June 1781
Purple and white linen gown, November 1763
I'm in love with these pretty florals.
Miss Johnson also saved cool fashion plates for us such as...
Dress of the Year 1757 (left) and 1758 (right).
My copy was "very cheap for cash"...a mere $14 (with a $1 discount). A Google search showed that several online sources have copies for +/- $200. The V&A has the original book in their collections and some fabulous pages can be viewed online. V&A Accession Number T.219-1973
The only downside to my copy is that it smells über musty. (I have to sit outside to read it.) Can anyone share tips / success stories to de-musting old books...stick it in the freezer? Pack it in a container with kitty litter? Fill the pages with fabric softener sheets?