House of Worth Ltd and Paquin Ltd, Couture Houses : drawings, photographs and papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 73 AAD/1982/1 : AAD/1990/4 : AAD/2009/11
  • Dates of Creation
      1825 - 1952
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English French
  • Physical Description
      187 files

Scope and Content

Photographs and reproduction drawings of clients (1889 - 1948); volumes of annotated photographs of garments arranged by daywear, outdoor wear and clothes for special occasions (1899 - 1914); photographs of collections (ca. 1900 - 1949); miscellaneous photographs including exhibition stands, fashion shows, garments and seamstresses (1900 - ca. 1952); volumes of photographs of collections, season by season (1907 - 1913); photographs of Worth salon interiors (ca. 1920 - 1929); photographs of clients and models in wedding dresses (ca. 1920 - ca.1950); volumes of photographs of Worth's business premises and unidentified domestic interiors (ca. 1927 - 1929); volumes of photographs of garments worn by fashion celebrities and models used for publicity purposes (1927 - 1929); photograph wrappers (1939); photographs of Worth window displays (ca. 1945); drawing of woman (undated); photographs of theatrical costumes (undated); prints from the historical archive of Paquin (1826 - 1901); drawings of Masquerade costumes for private clients by Frederick Worth (1862 - 1869); volume of eveningwear designs (1926 - 1929); drawings of wedding dresses (1940s); lists of collections (1940 - 1950) including records of appearances in the press and textile samples; design sketches for day, evening and outerwear (ca. 1948); sketches of patterns for textiles and window displays, (1920s - 1940s); Roles of negatives of models in dresses (1940 - 1950).

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Frederick Worth (1826 - 1895) founded the House of Worth Ltd in Paris in 1858. His sons, Jean Phillipe (1853 - 1924) and Gaston (1856 - 1926) ran the company after his death. Gaston's sons, Jean Charles and Jacques took over the business in the 1920s, by which time the company had branches in Biarritz, Cannes and London.

Madame Joseph Paquin (d.1936) founded the House of Paquin in Paris in 1891. A branch was opened in London in 1912 followed by branches in Buenos Aires and Madrid. The House of Worth was taken over by Paquin in 1954 but continued to operate under the name of Worth. Both firms closed two years later.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by House of Worth Ltd. in association with Paquin Ltd., 1956 (V&A), transferred 1982 (AAD), AAD/1982/1.

Given by House of Worth Ltd. in association with Paquin Ltd, 1956 (V&A), transferred 1990 (AAD), AAD/1990/4.

Given by House of Worth Ltd. in association with Paquin Ltd., 1956 (V&A), transferred 2009 (AAD), AAD/2009/11.

Separated Material

National Art Library, holds some periodicals and journals from the original gift.

Prints, Drawings and Paintings Collection, holds the designs, fashion plates and engravings from the original gift.

Museum of Costume. Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath. Holds several volumes of photographs, mainly duplicates but including two of wedding dresses, the presscuttings, and further periodicals and books from the original gift were given to the Museum of Costume in 1962 by the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Custodial History

The archive was given to the V&A by House of Worth Ltd in Association with Paquin Ltd in 1956 after the closure of the house in the same year. The collection was held in the NAL until 1982, when the photograph albums were transfered to the AAD. There were subsequent accruals to the AAD from the NAL in 1990 and 2009.

Related Material

The V&A Archive and Registry registered file: 1956/1603

Local file available from V&A Archive of Art and Design office.


Coleman, Elizabeth Ann 'The Opulent Era: fashions of Worth, Doucet and Pingat', London : Thames and Hudson in association with the Brooklyn Museum, 1989.

de la Haye, Amy and Mendes, Valarie D. 'The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive', London: V&A Publishing, 2013.