You Should Be Reading: The Clothing of a Georgian Banker, Thomas Coutts: A Story of Museum Dispersal

This week, Worn Through would like to highlight “The Clothing of a Georgian Banker, Thomas Coutts: A Story of Museum Dispersal” and encourage you to add it to your reading lists.

Wilcox, David. “The Clothing of a Georgian Banker, Thomas Coutts: A Story of Museum Dispersal.” Costume vol. 46, no.1 (2012 ): 17-54.

link to full article

About the author: David Wilcox specializes in period costume cutting and the history of costume. He has considerable expertise in pattern analysis of period wear, focusing particularly on 1660 to 1840, and his research into the garments recovered from Scottish peat bogs was of great help to National Museums Scotland. He has worked as a costume cutter for the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh and the Citizens’ Theatre and Scottish Opera in Glasgow, and he continues to work freelance for companies such as Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera-Go-Round, Northern Ballet and Scottish Television (eca).

Abstract:
In the early years of the twentieth century, the surviving wardrobe of the Georgian banker Thomas Coutts (1735‐1822) was donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This large collection of clothing was subsequently parcelled up and dispersed to museums around Britain and North America. This essay gives an account of this process and attempts to provide a description of Coutts’ late wardrobe, discusses how it relates to his life and times and re-unites on paper, at least, the surviving strands of the original collection. The essay also presents details of the cut and construction of some of these clothes, through descriptions, photography and annotated cutting diagrams. 

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