All the world laid by art and science at her feet: Colour, Dyes, Popular Science, and Women’s Fashion in Great Britain and the United States, 1840-1880.
textile sample books
professional and popular history of science (specifically chemistry)
popular history of colour
object analysis/material culture
popular and elite taste
This thesis examines the mid-nineteenth century relationship of fashion and popular science, exploring consumers’ responses to these phenomena of modernity. This project will consider how the development of new dyes during this period affected the middle-class use and discussion of colours in women’s dress, paying special attention to popular science and colour appreciation of the period. This multidisciplinary approach reveals that popular attention to science and colour during this period created an informed group of consumers for these new dyes. Because of the technical accomplishments which led to their production, these dyes were considered evidence of scientific progress and the vivid colours provided opportunities for women to employ highly sophisticated rules concerning colour applied to dress.