Fashion & Textiles
The Harris has a strong collection of women’s clothing and accessories from the 1800s to 1950s. Highlights include a Spitalfields silk dress from the 1740s and the dress in the painting ‘Pauline in the Yellow Dress’ by Sir James Gunn. A significant collection of Horrockses Fashions dresses from the 1940s to the 1970s is complemented by material from the company’s design archive.
The Harris has a wide range of men’s clothing and accessories from the 1790s to the 1880s, including rare examples of gentlemen’s clothing and servants’ livery from the early 1800s donated by the Hulton Family. Other significant areas of the collection are designer wear from the 1960s to modern day, including Vivienne Westwood and David Fielden.
The collection also has examples of farming and working dress from 1880s to 1950s, CC41 utility clothing and underwear, Quaker clothing and a quirky collection of fuzzy felt fashions associated with two portraits by Mabel Haythorn in the collection. Many garments have strong connections with Preston and were made or worn by local people. These include clothes associated with the Preston Guild, and a significant collection of South Asian dress from the 1990s.
This collection includes flat works such as embroidery, lace, quilts and printed cottons. Local firms are represented, but much of the collection reflects textile’s status as a popular personal and creative activity, as well as developments in recent textile art. Highlights include a fragment of Coptic textile from around 600, and embroidery and samplers from the 1700s to 1800s. Quilts range from a military example from 1890s to the ‘Harris Quilt’ commissioned from Josephine Ratcliff in 1998. An interesting collection of post 1950s artist-designed fabrics includes William Gear, Shirley Craven, Althea McNish.
There are also 18 volumes of historic South Asian fabrics in The Textile Manufactures of India. You can view the complete collection of fabric samples, find out more about Forbes Watson and the books by visiting www.tmoi.org.uk.
The museum also holds a fine collection of over 2,000 unbound, hand-coloured fashion plates dating from the 1770s to the 1890s which have been taken from a variety of women’s periodicals. This collection can be viewed by appointment.
See highlights of our collection online at on Google Arts & Culture’s We Wear Culture website: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/harris-museum-art-gallery
Around 50 items from this collection are on display. Items not on display are in our stores and are available to view by appointment. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a specific query.
This collection is on display in the Costume Gallery on the 2nd floor.
This collection is free to visit
Exploring Fashion & Textiles
Title: Fancy dress outfit in red silk ‘Rose of Lancaster’
Made: Simpson family of Preston
Object number: 1974.121
Title: High-heeled platform shoes in slashed red silk
Object number: 2000.203
Designer: Vivienne Westwood
Title: Cocktail dress in black, white and yellow printed cotton
Made: Horrockses Fashions
Object number: 2003.81
Title: Turban textile sample from The Textile Manufactures of India, volume 1, plate 27
Made: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Title: Painted Desert
Made: Hull Traders using a design by Althea McNish
Object number: 2016.7.2
Title: Sari in orange fabric with gold embroidery
Made: Unknown maker
Object number: 1994.78
Title: Waistcoat in tones of purple and orange silk
Made: Unknown maker
Object number: c125
Title: Dress in navy blue cotton with ribbon and flower pattern
Designer: Karen Alexander
Title: Dress in purple printed cotton with large sleeves
Made: Unknown maker, but from fine woven cotton spun in Lancashire
Object number: co128
Title: Robe and Skirt in Spitalfields Silk
Made: Unknown maker, silk possibly designed by Anna Maria Garthwaite
Object number: co429