As an early-20th-century English artist with an interest in historical subjects, Talbot Hughes began collecting clothing for accuracy in his paintings — and the pursuit grew into a labor of love. His magnificent costume collection was eventually displayed in Harrod's and has become a permanent part of the collection of the venerable Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In this well-researched guide, Hughes traces the evolution of English fashions from the grass-cloth wraps of prehistoric times to the luxurious gowns of the Victorian era. Arranged chronologically and by British reigns, this splendid compilation includes over 300 illustrations of period fashions for men and women and 94 photos of historic garments. Pictured are tunics and tights from the thirteenth century, Elizabethan gowns with starched ruff collars, Charles I cavaliers with lace-collared jackets and breeches, a five-century array of boots and shoes, an assortment of elaborate wigs, embroidered waistcoats, quilted petticoats, plumed headdresses, and other dashing designs of the past. More than a history of British style, it's also a dressmaker's delight, with scaled-down patterns for 67 authentic costumes — and a perfect reference for fashion designers, stylists, and historians.