Costume and Textiles

Students examine a selection of hats in the Henry’s Costumes and Textiles collection. Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit

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In the 1930s, faculty in the Home Economics department and School of Drama began collecting costumes and textiles, and in 1958, the Costume and Textile Study Center, the first study center of its kind, was established. Elizabeth Bayley Willis, with help from Virginia and Prentice Bloedel, provided the first major donation – a gift of more than 1,800 textiles and costumes from India— to the Center.

In 1982, the Costume and Textile Study Center and the School of Drama’s historic costume collection were formally transferred to the Henry. Now numbering more than over 18,000 objects – ranging in date from 1000 BCE to the present from countries around the world – these works are an important regional resource for the study of fashion, clothing, and design.

Fashion

Fashionable dress, in which the fabrics, materials, design, silhouette, construction, and detailing change rapidly over time, provides clues to our past and information about social identity and status. The collection includes items from designers, manufacturers, and stores associated with dress from the late 18th century to present.

Woman’s satin evening bodice with lace

Woman’s satin evening bodice with lace (U.S., 1855-1865). Henry Art Gallery, School of Drama Collection, gift of the Phinney Family, 1951, 82.1-10.

Woman’s silk jacket and day dress

Woman’s silk jacket and day dress (U.S., 1855-1860). Henry Art Gallery, School of Drama Collection, gift of the Phinney Family, 1951, 82.1-5.

Charles Frederick Worth, Woman’s dolman

Charles Frederick Worth (England/France, 1825-1895). Woman’s dolman (France, c. 1885). Henry Art Gallery, transfer from Columbia Teacher's College, 1958, 77.8-42.

Elsa Schiaparelli, Woman’s knit wool sweater

Elsa Schiaparelli (France, 1890-1973). Woman’s knit wool sweater (France, 1928-1929). Henry Art Gallery, Mrs. Theodore Plestcheeff Collection, 87.4-10.

Christian Dior, Woman’s embroidered organdy dress

Christian Dior (France, 1905-1957). Woman’s embroidered organdy dress (France, c. 1947-1948). Henry Art Gallery, Mrs. Theodore Plestcheeff Collection, 87.4-52.

Bonnie Cashin, Woman’s wool suit

Bonnie Cashin (U.S., 1915-2000); Sills and Co. (U.S.: New York, New York). Woman’s wool suit (U.S., 1976). Henry Art Gallery, gift of Philip Sills, 81.4-21.

Regional Dress

The collection has large holdings of handwoven, dyed, printed, and embroidered costume from India, Eastern Europe, Guatemala, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The preservation of traditional dress conventions is important to understand the changing role of dress, as in the past, each village had a unique identifying style.

The Blanche Payne Collection of Eastern European Folk Costume was collected in the 1930s. It represents traditional clothing from the former Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Greece. Margaret Hord donated her collection of Eastern European costumes in 2003, complimenting and strengthening the collection.

Woman’s embroidered Huipil

Woman’s embroidered Huipil (Guatemala, 1930s-10950s). Henry Art Gallery, Harriet Tidball Collection, 77.7-44.

Man’s appliqued outer garment

Man’s appliqued outer garment (Transylvania region, early-mid 20th century). Henry Art Gallery, Margaret J. Hord Collection, 2003.1-60.

Woman’s ikat robe

Woman’s ikat robe (Uzbekistan, mid-late 19th century). Henry Art Gallery, Irene Joshi Collection, 2007.4-18.

Embroidered Ainu robe

Embroidered Ainu robe (Japan, early 20th century). Henry Art Gallery, Helen Stager Poulsen Collection, 81.9-160.

Woman’s giubba with braidwork

Woman’s giubba with braidwork (Albania, mid 19th to early 20th century). Henry Art Gallery, Margaret J. Hord Collection, 2003.1-349.

Woman’s embroidered djillayeh

Woman’s embroidered djillayeh (Palestine, late 19th to early 20th century). Henry Art Gallery, John Dutton Wright Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Drumheller, 85.1-317.

Textiles

In addition to forming the base for the clothing we wear, textiles are also produced for use in homes, ceremonies, and religious purposes. Our holdings consist of household textiles used for wall, floor, and bed coverings, as well as laces and fabrics ranging in date from the 16th to 20th centuries.

Harriet Tidball is one of the people responsible for the resurgence of hand weave in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Her collection offers an archive of hand weaving examples.

James D. Burns, a local rug collector, and his wife Stephanie have donated a collection of rugs and textiles from the Middle East and Central Asia, ranging in date from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Tapestry-woven silk floor cloth

Tapestry-woven silk floor cloth (Syria, 19th century). Henry Art Gallery, Harriet Tidball Collection, 77.7-414.

Knotted pile rug

Knotted pile rug (South Caucasus region, 1870s). Henry Art Gallery, Gift of James D. and Stephanie Burns, 2005.8-3.

Embroidered wall hanging

Embroidered wall hanging (India, early 20th century). Henry Art Gallery, Elizabeth Bayley Willis Collection, 97.1-3.

Indigo resist-dyed futonji

Indigo resist-dyed futonji (Japan, n.d.). Henry Art Gallery, Frances and Thomas Blakemore Collection, 96.2-169.

Brocade chasuble

Brocade chasuble (France, c. 1770-1780). Henry Art Gallery, The Blanche Payne Collection, gift of the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, 92.10-77.

Painted temple wall hanging

Painted temple wall hanging (India, 1875-1899). Henry Art Gallery, Elizabeth Bayley Willis Collection, 66.61-36.