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Ribeiro, Aileen 1944-

RIBEIRO, Aileen 1944-

PERSONAL: Born April 15, 1944; married Robert Ribeiro (a lawyer). Education: King's College, University of London (London, England), B.A., 1965; Courtauld Institute of Art (London, England), M.A., 1971, Ph.D., 1975. Hobbies and other interests: Art and image in eighteenth-century portraiture in Europe, costume and caricature.

ADDRESSES: Office—Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England, History of Dress Dept., lecturer, 1973—, head of department, 1975—. Governor of the Pasold Textile Fund, London.

WRITINGS:

A Visual History of Costume: The Eighteenth Century, Batsford (London, England), 1983.

(With Celina Fox) Masquerade, Museum of London (London, England), 1983.

The Dress Worn at Masquerades in England, 1730 to 1790, and Its Relation to Fancy Dress in Portraiture, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.

Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789, Batsford (London, England), 1984, Holmes and Meier (New York, NY), 1985, revised edition, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2002.

Dress and Morality, Holmes and Meier (New York, NY), 1986.

The Female Face, Tate Gallery (London, England), 1987.

Dress and the French Revolution, Batsford (London, England), 1988.

Fashion in the French Revolution, Holmes and Meier (New York, NY), 1988.

(Editor) The Earl and Countess Howe by Gainsborough: A Bicentenary Exhibition, English Heritage (Ruislip, England), 1988.

(Compiler and editor, with Valerie Cumming) The Visual History of Costume, Drama Book Publishing (New York, NY), 1989.

The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France, 1750 to 1820, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1995.

Ingres in Fashion: Representations of Dress and Appearance in Ingres's Images of Women, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1999.

The Gallery of Fashion, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2000.

(With others) Whistler, Women, and Fashion, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.

Author of foreword, Fashions of the Past, by Anna Buruma, Sterline (New York), 1999; contributor to works by others, including Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe, 1830-1870, National Portrait Gallery (London, England), 1987, Ingres's Images of Women, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1999, and Goya: Images of Women, edited by Janis A. Tomlinson, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2002; editor of costume accessories series and visual history of costume series, both published by Batsford; contributor to periodicals, including the London Times, Connoisseur, History Today, Apollo, Burlington, Connaissance des Arts, and Vogue.

SIDELIGHTS: Aileen Ribeiro is an art historian specializing in the history of dress who "has taken the study of eighteenth-century dress several strides on in recent years," in the opinion of Pat Rogers of the Times Literary Supplement. Another Times Literary Supplement reviewer, Celina Fox, echoed Rogers, calling Ribeiro's Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789 "an important book, certainly the most scholarly account of eighteenth-century dress ever to have been published," and praised its "richness of documentary evidence." In this work, Ribeiro focuses on fashion in Europe during the eighteenth century, or the "age of elegance," beginning with the ornate baroque dress of the early decades and concluding with the uncomplicated dress of the years prior to the French Revolution. She also assesses the role fashion played in society and the economy, eighteenth-century attitudes toward dress, and the relationship between fashion and social class.

According to Ribeiro in Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, the eighteenth-century upper classes often adopted certain forms of dress as an outward sign of their social standing. The Italian nobility wore black, in Russia the Empress Elizabeth demanded the women of her entourage to shave their heads and wear black wigs, and in France, Madame de Pompadour required that her guests wear gray. Yet with all its attention to beautiful clothing, the "age of elegance" had its myths, which Ribeiro dispels. She acknowledges that the styles of dress of the working classes and poor dated back to the Middle Ages in some cases and were put together strictly for usefulness and economy. Ribeiro also found that many people devised ingenious methods to conceal the physical signs, such as pockmarked skin and rotting teeth, of poor hygiene and diet. The author provides evidence that one woman dyed her teeth black so that they would appear to be lacquered. Even people most meticulous about their appearance failed to bathe regularly, and clothing—especially silks, which were almost impossible to clean—decayed in areas of heavy perspiration. The volume was reprinted nearly two decades later with slight revisions, and was newly praised, this time by Library Journal's James F. DeRoche, who wrote that it "is a readable, thorough, and intelligent treatment of the excessively elaborate style of the day."

Ribeiro's The Dress Worn at Masquerades in England, 1730 to 1790, and Its Relation to Fancy Dress in Portraiture studies theatrical garb and costumes worn by men, women, and children during the greater part of the eighteenth century. Rogers was enthusiastic about Ribeiro's historic fashion discoveries that she presents in this work, saying that "first, she has brought together an immense amount of pictorial evidence, which shows the prevalence of the stock motifs in fashionable dress more clearly than ever before.... Second, Ribeiro advances our knowledge of the role played by pattern books....In addition, Ribeiro advances our knowledge of the role played by drapery painters," whose works influenced later generations of artists who portrayed subjects in flowing costumes.

The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France, 1750 to 1820 studies the relationship between fashion and portraiture, or as Ribeiro explains it, "the ways in which fashion acts as a link between life and art." Ribeiro treats England and France separately, noting styles could vary widely on either side of the English Channel, and examines clothing in paintings, drawings, and from letters and diaries.

In Ingres in Fashion: Representations of Dress and Appearance in Ingres's Images of Women, Ribeiro contends that nineteenth-century artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's paintings can be more fully understood by knowing of his appreciation of fashion and of the costumes that inspired him as much as the subjects who wore them. Ingres arranged clothing and accessories to accentuate the lines of his female subjects' bodies, with velvet, lace, ribbons, and flowers. Suzy Menkes noted in a review for the International Herald Tribune Online that "as painstakingly as Ingres accumulated rich colors and tactile effects, Ribeiro builds up a portrait of an artist who was fascinated with the surface of things—because of what they revealed. Here is a fashion book with luminous visuals and a lucid text. The details of a painting—a fleshy arm banded with pearl bracelets or a vividly embroidered cashmere shawl—is often the first introduction to a famous and familiar canvas. This not only makes the portraits seem fresh and intriguing, but unreels fashion history and the shifting notions of female allure." Library Journal's Margarete Gross wrote that "whether one's interest is in Ingres, French history, or costuming, there is much to like about this book."

The Gallery of Fashion refers to the National Portrait Gallery in London, where images of the wealthy and famous reflect fashion through the ages down to Princess Diana. Ribeiro's text and commentary connect each portrait to its period of history and explain each artist's technique. Booklist reviewer Michael Spinella called the volume "fantastic" and said that it "should be seen by all fashionistas who want to see what people were wearing, and when."

Ribeiro is a coauthor of Whistler, Women, and Fashion, a study of James McNeill Whistler's (1834-1903) obsession with dress. Whistler himself sported a fur coat, cane, and monocle, and he went so far as to design the costumes of his subjects, one of whom was Frances Leland. He created a translucent gown for the woman whom it was rumored he loved. Lady Meux, who met her husband, the heir to a brewery fortune, in a tavern, commissioned several portraits by Whistler in an effort to establish herself as the lady she had become through marriage. The volume is enhanced by new material from the Centre for Whistler Studies, and follows the relationships between Whistler and his female subjects, including aristocrats, actresses, artists, family members, and mistresses, over fifty years. New York Times Book Review critic Hilarie M. Sheets called Whistler, Women, and Fashion "an engrossing study."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Ribeiro, Aileen, The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France, 1750 to 1820, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1995.

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June, 1997, Elizabeth Wilson, review of The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France, 1750-1820, p. 810.

Booklist, December 15, 2000, Michael Spinella, review of The Gallery of Fashion, p. 777.

Eighteenth-Century Studies, summer, 1996, Sarah R. Cohen, review of The Art of Dress, p. 438.

Library Journal, June 15, 1999, Margarete Gross, review of Ingres in Fashion: Representations of Dress and Appearance in Ingres's Images of Women, p. 76; January 1, 2001, Stephan Allan Patrick, review of The Gallery of Fashion, p. 100; November 15, 2002, James F. DeRoche, review of Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789, p. 69.

New York Review of Books, May 20, 1999, James Fenton, review of Ingres in Fashion, p. 21; October 10, 2002, Richard Dorment, review of Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789, p. 6.

New York Times Book Review, July 27, 2003, Hilarie M. Sheets, review of Whistler, Women, and Fashion, p. 13.

TCI, February, 1997, Whitney Blausen, review of The Art of Dress, p. 54.

Times Higher Education Supplement, March 26, 1999, Rom Rosenthal, review of Ingres in Fashion, p. 28.

Times Literary Supplement, February 22, 1985, Pat Rogers, review of The Dress Worn at Masquerades in England, 1730-1790; January 10, 1986, Celina Fox, review of Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789; December 1, 1995, Claire Harman, review of The Art of Dress, p. 8; February 26, 1999, Robert Snell, review of Ingres in Fashion, p. 18.

William and Mary Quarterly, April, 1997, Patricia A. Cunningham, review of The Art of Dress, p. 430.

ONLINE

International Herald Tribune Online,http://www.iht.com/ (February 4, 1999), Suzy Menkes, review of Ingres in Fashion.*

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