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Lecture: Xtreme Embellishment

October 20, 2015
Fullerton Hall
Free with museum admission

Caroline Goldthorpe, former curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and currently director of the Museum Studies Certificate Program at Northwestern University, offers an informal look at some of the most elaborate and extreme examples of embroidery ever worn. She shares images of some of her favorite embroidered costume pieces, primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the stories behind them.

During the 18th century particularly, the dress for a fashionable lady, four to five feet in width, could carry 10 pounds in silver embroidery. In some cases we know the name and history of the wearer and in others the name of the designer, often also a woman. Goldthorpe also discusses designs for men’s embroidered waistcoats, some from the Art Institute’s own collection.

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Salesman’s Sample, 1780/90. Gift of Mrs. Chauncey B. Borland.