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Title: The embroidery trade in eighteenth-century Paris and Lyon
Author: Baker, Tabitha
ISNI:       0000 0004 9350 8291
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the professional embroidery trade of eighteenth-century Paris and Lyon within the broader socio-economic context of consumption, retailing and production. It investigates how consumer demand for embroidered clothing changed over time and the effects this had on the retailing and production of embroidery. It argues that embroidery was a highly flexible luxury product which evolved to meet the complicated consumer demand of heterogeneous European elites. Embroidery makes for a useful case study of an ancillary trade of the luxury market which did not require sophisticated machinery or large capital investment. Embroidery was an important luxury trade in eighteenth-century France, supplying elite consumers across Europe with expensive, hand-made products. Nevertheless, no study to date has investigated the links between the consumption and professional production of French embroidery. There is no major socio-economic study of the trade, comparable with those for other fashion-related trades such as textile designers, shoemakers and seamstresses. Most research on embroidery has focused on the aesthetic qualities of groups of objects, or individual pieces. As a result, the business practices and professional networks of the embroiderers have remained absent from scholarship on the luxury trades of eighteenth-century France. Moreover, such scholarship has focused on cheaper commodities and middle class consumption. This thesis addresses a significant gap in the current historiography by foregrounding the elite classes and their consumption of an individual luxury product. It sits at the intersection of economic history and the history of textiles and dress. It therefore draws on the traditional sources of economic and social historians such as account books, commercial correspondence and legal proceedings, and also on those used in material culture studies, including embroidered clothing, textile samples and designs. This approach posits a new understanding of the place that professional embroidery occupied within the hierarchy of urban luxury trades in eighteenth-century France.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; Victoria and Albert Museum ; University of Warwick ; Economic History Society
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DC France ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor