Shaping Femininity by
Call Number: Art Library, TT677 .B46 2022
Publication Date: London ; New York : Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2022
In sixteenth and seventeenth-century England, the female silhouette underwent a dramatic change. A very structured form – created using garments called bodies and farthingales – existed in various extremes in Western Europe and beyond in the form of stays, corsets, hoop petticoats and crinolines, right up until the twentieth century. Shaping Femininity explores the relationship between material culture and femininity by examining the lives of a wide range of women, from queens to courtiers, farmer's wives and servants, uncovering their lost voices and experiences. It argues these objects of material culture began to shape and define changing notions of the feminine bodily ideal, social status, sexuality and modesty in the early modern period, influencing enduring Western notions of femininity. This exhibition is the first large-scale exploration of the materiality, production, consumption and meanings of women's foundation garments.