19th Century French and English Fashion Plates

Scope and Content

A collection of 19th century French and English fashion plates, all in colour. They were taken from magazines such as "Ladies' Monthly Magazine", "Ladies' Pocket Magazine", "The Queen", "La Grande Dame" and "The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine". Most of the plates show a variety of women's fashions although there are also some children and men's fashions. The plates not only show the progression of fashions and standards of beauty from around 1790 to around 1900, but also highlight developments in the manner of portraying fashion. For example the earlier illustrations are plain and simple, while gradually more complicated settings are shown, the colours become stronger, and actresses are used as models.

Administrative / Biographical History

A set of 19th century fashion plates cut out of magazines and glued to cards. Some are stamped 'City of Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology' indicating that they were collected some time between 1925 and 1969, although their condition suggests that they were glued down at a later date, probably during the Leicester Polytechnic era. The cards were kept in the Library as a resource supporting the teaching of fashion history, before being moved to the Archive for greater security.


The plates have been arranged in broad chronological order.

Access Information

Available for general access. External researchers are advised to contact the archivist to make an appointment.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to item level.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Katharine Short, Archivist, April 2013.

Related Material

DMU Special Collections includes a number of fashion magazines and ladies' journals which feature fashion plates in their original context, such as "La Belle assemblée or, Bell's court and fashionable magazine", "The Queen", "Girl's own paper and Woman's magazine", "The ladies' treasury : an illustrated magazine of entertaining literature, education, fine art, domestic-economy, needlework and fashion", "Gazette du Bon Ton", and "The lady's world : a magazine of fashion and society". See the main DMU Library catalogue for more information (look for location "Kimberlin Special Collections").