Fashioning the Early Modern

Professor Marie-Louise Nosch

Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research
University of Copenhagen
SAXO-Institute - Archaeology, Ethnology, Greek & Latin, History, Njalsgade 80, DK - 2300 København S, Denmark
+45 353-29691

Marie-Louise Nosch is a historian, specialized in ancient Greek history. She studied in France and Italy and received her Ph.D. from Universität Salzburg, Austria. Her special area of study is Aegean epigraphy and Mycenaean textile production. She is the editor of the Ancient Textiles Series.

Research Interests: 


Ancient history, historiography, Bronze Age, textiles, epigraphy, Minoan and Mycenaean culture, textile tools, textile technology.

Scientific papers:

 - Marie-Louise B. Nosch, „Red Coloured Textiles in the Linear B Inscriptions“, in L. Cleland & K. Staers (ed.), Colour in the Ancient Mediterranean World. BAR International Series 1267 (2004), 32-39.
 - Linda Mårtenssen, Marie-Louise B. Nosch, Eva Andersson Strand, “Shape of Things: Understanding a Loom Weight”, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 28.4 (2009).
 - M. Del Freo, Marie-Louise B. Nosch, F. Rougemont “The Terminology of Textiles in the Linear B Tablets, including Some Considerations Regarding Linear A Logograms and Abbreviations”, in Cécile Michel & Marie-Louise Nosch (eds.), Terminology of Textiles, Oxbow (In press, 2010).
- Marie-Louise B. Nosch, The Knossos Od Series. An Epigraphical Study, Veröffentlichungen der Mykenische Kommission Band 25, Mykenische Studien 20, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, Denkschriften, 347. Band (2007).
- C. Gillis & M.-L. B. Nosch (eds), Ancient Textiles. Production, Craft and Society. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ancient textiles, held at Lund, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark on March 19-23, 2003. Ancient Textiles Series 1, Oxbow Books, Oxford (2007).
- C. Gillis & M.-L. B. Nosch (eds), First Aid for the Excavation of archaeological Textiles. Ancient Textiles Series 2, Oxbow Books, Oxford (2007).
- M. Gleba, C. Munkholt, M.-L. Nosch (eds.) Dressing the Past. Ancient Textiles Series 3 (2008).
 - Kathrine Vestergård and Marie-Louise B. Nosch (eds), The Medieval Broadcloth: Changing Trends in Fashions, Manufacturing, and Consumption, Ancient Textiles Series 6, Oxbow Books (2009)
- Kjeld Galster & Marie-Louise Nosch (eds.), Textile History and the Military. Textile History. Supplement volume 1. (2010)
Project Title: 
Fashioning the Early Modern

Professor Peter McNeil

Professor of Fashion Studies / Professor of Design History
Stockholm University / University of Technology Sydney
School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia
+61 2 9514 8092

Peter McNeil is Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. In 2008 he was appointed concurrently as Foundation Chair of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. Trained as an art and design historian, his research crosses disciplines, chronologies and geographies. This research has engaged with different ways in which visual imagery and materiality shaped lives from the eighteenth century to the present day. His research strengths are in relationships between high and low aesthetic forms (the portrait and the caricature, for example), the historical representation of fashion goods ranging from clothing to furnishings; and the inter-relationship between genres including history painting, sculpture, portrait painting, print-making, ephemera and the decorative arts of the 18th to 20th centuries, and the commercial art and photography of the 19th and 20th centuries. McNeil has a long-term interest in the relationship of scholarship to museum studies. He has published in academic journals including Art History, Journal of Design History, Fashion Theory, Teori Moda (Russia), History Today, Journal of Australian Studies and La Trobe Library Journal. Current projects range from a collaborative investigation of place and memory within the clothing trades in Sydney, c1890-1980, to the study of 18th-century English and French men’s fashion and print culture. From 2006-2010 he served as President of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, representing Art History in that region.
Research Interests: 

Design History; inter-relationships between visual and literary forms

Historiography of Fashion Research; cross-cultural perspectives


- Nordic Fashion Studies (with Louise Wallenberg, eds), Axl, Stockholm, 2011 (in press)

- ‘Easton Pearson: Old Empire or New Global Luxury?’ in G. Adamson, G. Riello and S. Teasley (eds), Global Design History, Routledge, 2011

- The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, 2010 (Routledge; with G. Riello)

- ‘Caricatura e Moda: Storia di una Presa in Giro', Italian Fashion Studies Handbook, eds. M. G. Muzzarelli and E. T. Brandi (eds.), Storie di Moda /Fashion-able Histories, Milan, Bruno Mondadori, 2010

- Fashion: Critical and Primary Sources, Renaissance to the Present Day (4 Vols.), Berg, 2009

- Fashion in Fiction. Text and Clothing in Literature, Film and Television (with V. Karaminas & C.Cole), Oxford and New York: Berg, 2009

- The Men’s Fashion Reader, Berg, 2009 (with V. Karaminas)

- ‘Libertine Acts: Fashion and Furniture’, in J. Potvin (ed), The Places and Spaces of Fashion,

1800-2007, Routledge, New York and London, 2009, pp. 154-165

- Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers, Oxford and New York: Berg, 2006 (with G. Riello) [ as Scarpe: Dal Sandalo Antico alla Calzatura d'Alta Moda, Venice, Angelo Colla editore, 2007]

- ‘The art and science of walking: mobility, gender and footwear in the long eighteenth century’, Fashion Theory, 9/2 (2005), pp. 175-204 (with G. Riello).

- Everlasting: The Flower in Fashion and Textiles, exh. Catalogue (curator R. Leong), National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2005.

- ‘Refashioning the Elites’, in The Enlightenment World, eds. M. Fitzpatrick, P. Jones, C. Knewllwolf and I. McCalman, London & New York, Routledge, 2004, pp. 381-400.


Project Title: 
Fashioning the Early Modern

Eighth "Object in Focus" published on the website!

The Fashioning the Early Modern project partners have published their eighth object in the popular "Object in Focus" series on the project website.

The probate of Hans Dinesen and his wives, Denmark, 1584-1586:

The "Object in Focus" series are short papers written by the partners and research collaborators telling the story of a particular fashion object  that can be said to have significance for the questions studied within the project.

A variety of objects have been studied so far; see the list below for more details.

Elizabethan wizard mask:

The Swedish faience tray:

Fashion drawing by Jean-Baptiste le Prince:

The Swedish king's cinnamon cane:

Early modern buckle from Oulu:

Man's banyan:

An incredible fan:

Some of the future Objects in Focus will include: the pearl-studded cap, the patch (the mouche), a woman's gown.




Fashioning the Early Modern - Latest Object in Focus: Swedish Faience Tray

Prepared by: Patrik Steorn, Centre for Fashion Studies, University of Stockholm

This faience tray from the collections of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, was made in Sweden in 1772, decorated with the motif of an English fashion caricature entitled ‘Ridiculous Taste or the Ladies Absurdity’.

The image is ‘after’ an etching with engraving produced by the London print-sellers and makers Matthew and Mary Darly in July 1771 (“Ridiculous Taste or the Ladies’ Absurdities”, 1771, first edition. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale).

The Swedish decorative painter Erik Borg translated the scene from a paper print to a hand-painted faience tray at the Swedish manufacturer Marieberg in Stockholm, which was one of the more creative of the ceramic producers in eighteenth-century Sweden. See: Hernmarck, Carl: Marieberg. En lysande representant för svenskt sjuttonhundratal, Stockholm: Wahlström och Widstrand, 1946, p.194 and Marieberg 1758-1788, (ed. Carl Hernmarck & Bo Gyllensvärd) exhibit. cat. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm 1945, p.5-11).

Due to its shape and motif this tray can be considered a type of ‘conversation piece’, a part of social life organized around drinking tea, coffee or chocolate in private or public meeting places.

For a full version of the paper, please visit our "Object in focus" page at:


Participants of the "Fashioning the Early Modern" project hold their first workshop, 11-12 November 2010, London

The first HERA workshop brought together curatorial staff and academics from six countries along with a group of PhD students working on early modern fashion.

There were three themes to the first day’s activities. The first focused on defining innovation itself.  Evelyn Welch was concerned to ask what constituted novelty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?  She began by discussing a series of prints by Giovanni Stradano on ‘new discoveries’ laid great stress on objects and technologies that were not known to the ancients. These included windmills, printing and engraving, sugar milling and the manufacture and use of ‘holy wood’ or guiacum, a product thought to cure syphilis.  Some of these novelties could be patented but many (such as glasses or stirrups) were products rather than processes; in most cases they did not fit neatly into the early modern guild system.  The workshop was interested in asking if fashion products, which range from the folding fan to beauty patches or wigs were seen as ‘new’ in similar ways. What was the relationship between their desirable nature and the often conventional attacks on fashionable ‘trifles’ that were made by preachers and moralists throughout the period?

The second section of the meeting provided an opportunity to present new work by early career scholars at different stages in their PhD research on early modern fashion. 

In the afternoon, two of the postdoctoral researchers set out the work on which they have been engaged for some time. Maj Ringgaard (based at the Centre for Textile Research in Copenhagen) presented some of the issues to do with studying knitted objects in early modern Scandinavia while Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset (who has recently been appointed to the postdoctoral position at the V&A) discussed the challenges of finding information about early modern French court dress in the French archives. Despite the destruction of much of the wardrobe material for Louis XIV, she was able to find considerable documentation for the ‘passports’ that were required to send out clothing and other fashionable goods from Paris to other European courts. These provide a rich resource for understanding the exchange of goods and notions of fashion at the highest elite level.

On the second day, the participants spent a privileged morning under the guidance of Susan North to examine some of the early modern knitted objects in the V&A’s collections. This allowed them to return to some of the key questions: what constituted novelty in a traditional technique such as knitting and how does one use objects as evidence for early modern fashion practices. The objects that the participants examined, particularly the knitted jackets, were generally of the highest quality and posed challenges to their notions of fashion hierarchies. Here knitting was certainly the equivalent to woven brocade and had the advantages of providing light, body-fitting warmth and elegance.

The workshop was concluded with a presentation by Dr Lesley Miller on how she and her team are planning the redisplay of the Europe, 1600-1800 galleries and the ways in which the HERA project can inform this work.

Professor Evelyn Welch becomes a dedicated follower of fashion

A major new project exploring the changing fashion trends of Renaissance Europe has been given the go-ahead after Queen Mary, University of London, secured a grant of nearly €1m from Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA).

The three-year project, entitled ‘Fashioning the Early Modern: Creativity and Innovation in Europe, 1500-1800’, was launched in July 2010, and will be led by Professor Evelyn Welch, of the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Professor Welch, an expert in early modern visual and material culture, will explore how and why fashion accessories, such as wigs and ruffs and textiles like lace and silk, came into vogue across Europe while others failed. Professor Welch explained, “I’m asking why it made sense for men from Spain to Sweden to shave off their own hair and wear someone else’s – we explain this with the term ‘fashion’, but what prompted this popularity?” She notes that by the time wigs fell out of fashion, the industry was one of the largest employers in Europe and the changing styles had real economic consequences, particularly on some of the poorest members of society who lost their jobs. “We can dismiss fashion as frivolous but changing attitudes to our wardrobes have similar consequences today, often on a global scale.”

The project uses a range of techniques from mathematical modelling to hands-on curatorial investigation to track the innovation, development and spread of other fashionable goods such as textiles, brands of perfume, knitted stockings and starched ruffs. It explores how governments promoted, or in some cases, tried to stop these goods from moving across Europe. The project will feed into the major re-development of the ‘Europe, 1600-1800’ galleries at the V&A, offering an opportunity for close collaboration between museum curators and Queen Mary academics.

Professor Welch and her team will also be working with contemporary fashion designers and students to stimulate new creative initiatives.

Notes to Editors

Other collaborators on the project include senior scholars, curators and postdoctoral researchers from the Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, The Centre for Fashion Studies, University of Stockholm; Copenhagen and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

Associate partners include museums based in Sweden and Denmark with substantial dress and textile collections and the economist, Paul Ormerod of Volterra Consulting.

Professor Welch is the new Vice-Principal for Research and International Affairs at Queen Mary. She is also the programme director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s £5.5m strategic programme, Beyond Text: Performances, Sounds, Images, Objects. Author of award-winning Shopping in the Renaissance: Consumer Cultures in Italy 1400-1600 (Yale, 2005), Professor Welch has recently completed a new monograph, Making and Marketing Medicine in Renaissance Florence (Rodopi Press, 2010).

Report from the Fashioning the Early Modern 4th workshop, Stockholm, 30 Nov - 2 Dec 2011

Between the 30 November and 1 December 2011, 36 participants from Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Finland, France, Italy, Germany and Australia gathered in Stockholm to take part in the 4th Fashioning the Early Modern workshop on Print Culture and Fashion Products, Stockholm, Sweden. The workshop was organised by Peter McNeil (University of Technology Sydney and Stockholm University) and Patrik Steorn (Stockholm University).

On the first day of the workshop participants were able to gain access to collections from a number of museums (the Nordic Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Royal Armoury / Livrustkammaren). The second day of the workshop focused on presentations and gave the opportunity to postgraduate students and young professionals to present their work and participate in the discussions. Participants were also able to visit the Hallwyllska Museet and see the exhibition “Vowen Dreams of Fashion” Ebba von Eckermann and Ripsa, 1950-1980, curated by Patrik Steorn:

The workshop was followed by a one-day international conference on “Fashion in Translation” organised by Peter McNeil, University of Technology Sydney and Stockholm University.

For a full report, download the PDF available on this page.

The Uses of History: reflections from the 5th Fashioning the Early Modern workshop (by Peter McNeil)

Fashioning the Early Modern 5th Workshop with Designers

Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark

13-14 June 2012

The 5thFashioning the Early Modern Workshop with Rococo and Knitting Designers, conducted 13-14 June 2012 at the Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark, explored this question of past and present in terms of contemporary fashion design practice. Carefully brokered by Kirsten Toftegaard, Dr Maj G Ringgard and Prof. Marie-Louise Nosch as a two-day workshop event, it used Toftegaard’s concurrent exhibition Rokokomania (Designmuseum Danmark 2012) as the leitmotif for a series of conversations between thirty participants from many backgrounds and countries. A group of three fashion and textile designers (all women, interestingly) had been commissioned to create design ‘interventions’ that were integrated in the space of the Rococo show. They had been briefed concerning the curatorial intent and had had considerable time to work on the commissions, due to a delay in the timetabling of the show. This allowed the unusual possibility of much reflection, as well as their considered reaction to the show in the context of the HERA FEM Workshop. Smaller groups of FEM participants sat down for one hour with each designer to discuss and debate their design process and outcomes, providing an invaluable opportunity to test on this occasion if designers might make ‘use of (live) historians’ rather than general ‘uses of history’. On Day 2 we had the privilege to meet experts and designers of contemporary knitting, who also indicated the ‘uses of history’ for their practice.

Read the full paper by Peter McNeil here.

Photos from the workshop and visit to the Rococomania exhibition can be seen here:




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