A feather in your cap: inside the symbolic universe of Renaissance Europe

02 Nov 2017

Today, feathers are an extravagant accessory in fashion; 500 years ago, however, they were used to constitute culture, artistry, good health and even courage in battle. This unlikely material is now part of a project that promises to tell us more not only about what happened in the past, but also about how it felt to be there.

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Distillation in the 15th century, from Liber de Arte Distillandi de Compositis by Hieronymus Brunschwig

Men in stripes: spot the difference in early modern woodcuts

16 Jul 2015

Sixteenth-century woodcuts often depict young men wearing striped doublets or striped hose.  When historian of science Tillmann Taape embarked on a journey into the meaning of stripes, he discovered that artists used them to mark out people who were neither rich and educated nor poor and illiterate – but something in between.

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What goes up must come down: a brief history of the codpiece

30 Apr 2015

Only briefly in vogue, the codpiece has left a rich legacy in art, literature and – most recently – in televised costume drama. In focusing her attention on this ostentatious male accessory, PhD candidate Victoria Bartels has developed some new ideas about its evolution (and demise) as a symbol of virility.

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Fancy pants: skirmishes with the fashion police in 16th-century Italy

16 Sep 2014

With the autumn 2014 fashion shows in full swing, all eyes are on the top designers. In 16th-century Italy, the latest looks didn't always go down well with the authorities. Historian Giulia Galastro is researching the sumptuary laws regulating the level of opulence that could be paraded in public – and how the dandies of the day neatly side-stepped the rules.  

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The first book of fashion

01 May 2013

Fashion conveys complex messages. The recreation of an outfit taken from one of an extraordinary series of Renaissance portraits reveals how one man made his mark on society. 

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Yasumasa Morimura

Looking the part

05 Mar 2012

Throughout history, clothes have been a powerful part of our identity. Taking place this Friday, a symposium called Appearances of Gender – open to all and free of charge – will bring together some of the country’s leading commentators on dress for a debate about fashion and faith, culture and gender.

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Simply leaf

Promoting green innovation

01 Feb 2010

A regional knowledge transfer project is linking the region's top plant science research with businesses wanting to develop new products.

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Rethinking

Rethinking eccentricity

01 May 2009

Miranda Gill traces shifting 19th-century perceptions of eccentricity, from its association with the intoxicating lure of modernity and fashion to the murky underworld of circus freaks and half-mad visionaries.

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