For her ground-breaking book Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, dress historian Hilary Davidson spent five years researching the complexities and realities of Regency clothing.
Delving past the myths of this period into account books, washing lists, professional advice, bills, garments, and many other primary sources, she brought to life the world of dress Jane Austen and her British gentry compatriots knew and wore.
This talk explores some of Hilary’s discoveries, and opens up a surprisingly broad world of interconnected economic, political and global histories that contributed to the distinctive styles of Regency fashion.
She is a consultant on historic textiles for the Oxford English Dictionary, and has published and broadcast extensively on dress history, including presenting on the BBC documentary Pride & Prejudice: Having a Ball (2013). Hilary is currently completing a PhD by with publication at La Trobe, and is an honorary associate at the University of Sydney. Her reconstruction of Jane Austen’s pelisse coat (Costume, 2015) led to an extensive study of British Regency dress, published as Dress in the Age of Jane Austen (Yale University Press, 2019).
William Owen RA (English, 1769-1825) Portrait of Captain Gilbert Heathcote Rn, (1779-1831), England, circa 1801-1805 Oil on canvas | 1270 x 1018mm © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, England, purchase, 1938P680