A wealthy Anglo-Italian connoisseur devoted to the nineteenth-century struggle for Italian unification, Frederick Stibbert amassed an extensive collection of arms, armor, and costume — which today can be found in the Tuscan museum bearing his name. During the years in which he built up the museum's collection, he examined countless illuminated manuscripts, ancient documents, frescoes, paintings, and other records of armor and dress.
The illustrations in this book, based on exceptional drawings by Stibbert himself and engraved by leading craftsmen of the day, reveal a remarkable panorama of European costume history. The volume contains 217 handsome plates depicting nearly 1,000 individual figures and their accessories, all scrupulously accurate and rendered in meticulous detail. Here are excellent illustrations of priests, warriors, Roman citizens, and women of ancient Britain; the German Emperor Otto and his wife; French monarchs and Scottish kings; jousting English knights of the thirteenth century; fifteenth-century Italian gentlewomen; elaborately coiffed ladies from the court of Versailles; and much more. Captions give the origins of the armor and dress, the sources of the drawings, precise descriptions of each item represented, and explanations of the function and manner of wearing armor.
This extraordinary work has wide appeal: fashion historians will be attracted by its scrupulous accuracy and the authenticity of the garments; the royalty-free illustrations will be prized by artists and illustrators; and the handsome engravings and informative captions will entertain and instruct readers interested in the history of costume.