Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince  A Study of the Years 1340-1365

January 1980
1 colour, 51 black and white illustrations
162 pages
27.6x21.9 cm
Boydell Press

Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince A Study of the Years 1340-1365

Stella Mary Newton


Hardback out of stock

A close study of clothes worn by aristocratic families and their households at the time of the Black Prince - and of Chaucer - showing Europe-wide influences.
1340 to 1363 were years remarkable for dramatic developments in fashion and for extravagant spending on costume, foreshadowing the later luxury of Richard II's court. Stella Mary Newton has broken new ground with this detailed study of a short period in the history of fashion (with the possible exception of recent books of the 1920s and 1930s); there is certainly no other single book which discusses fourteenth-century costume in comparable depth. Ms Newton draws on surviving accounts from the Royal courts, and the evidence of chronicles and poetry (often from unpublished manuscripts), and contemporary paintings. Her exploration of aspects of chivalry, particularly the choice of mottoes and devices worn at tournaments, and ot the exchange of gifts of clothing between reigning monarchs, offers new insights into the social history of the times, and she has much to say that is crucial to the study of illuminated manuscripts of the fourteenth century.
STELLA MARY NEWTON's lifelong interest in costume has been the mainspring of her work, from early days as a stage and costume designer (including designing the costumes for the first production of T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral) to her later work at the National Gallery advising on the implications of costume for the purpose of dating, and at the Courtauld Institute where she set up the department for the study of the history of dress.


Something of a landmark in the history of dress... the period is notably rich in its documentation, and by carefully analysing both the manuscript sources and published accounts [the author] is able to produce an abundantly detailed narrative of the changes in fashion... Tighter clothes outraged moralists, incensed monastic chroniclers and stirred poets... in the last chapter the author discuss[es] the relationship of the garments she has meticulously reconstructed with their possible representations in manuscript illumination, sculpture and painting... Of lasting value... a pioneering book which will be of enduring value to historians of dress and art alike. APOLLO
The evidence for this scholarly and detailed study is drawn in the first instance from documentary sources... contemporary illustrations reinforce the written evidence... The book contains much that is of wider interest than the subject matter suggests: the various mottoes used by Edward III are discussed, and the problem of his expanding waistline is revealed; there are interesting sidelights on the new orders of chivalry. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW [Michael Prestwich]