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Fashion in Focus

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by Grace Evans

Miss Olive Matthews put together her costume collection during the early and middle parts of the 20th century. Now housed at Chertsey Museum, with dedicated galleries and Keeper, it consists of over six thousand items of men’s, women’s and children’s fashionable dress and accessories, dating from the 1600s to the present day. The quality and richness of many of the garments rivals those found in much larger institutions and the collection has been described by the V&A as nationally significant. In order to build upon public interest and maximise educational potential, the Museum has produced a substantial catalogue. Written by Grace Evans, Keeper of Costume, it explores the most important pieces from the Olive Matthews Collection. The book begins with details about Olive Matthews and a history of how the collection was put together, while the following chapters look at key pieces by century, starting with the Seventeenth and finishing with the Twentieth. The book is richly illustrated with photographs of full garments and beautiful detail shots by talented photographer John Chase. This publication is a very useful starting point for students wishing to learn more about the valuable research possibilities offered by the collection. Those with a general interest in costume will also find the book a fascinating and informative read.


Published in 2011.