Ladies of Fashion

The Abbey Museum has a large collection of fashion plates dating back to the 1770s.  Now collector’s items, they were used to show new fashionable styles of clothing, predominantly women and children.  The majority of these fashion plates can be found in ladies’ fashion magazines which began to appear during the last decades of the 18th century.  They depict clothes made for the rich upper classes, while the majority of the population were more poorly dressed. Traditionally they are created through etching, line engraving, or lithograph and then coloured by hand. They first appeared at the end of the 18th century in England and spread to France and the Continent.