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Author and costume designer Astrida NugentMARK YOUR CALENDAR

The Victorians knew a thing or two about decoration. Just ask costume historian Astrida Schaeffer, founder of Schaeffer Arts and author of "Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail." You can ask her yourself  at the Portsmouth Athenaeum on October 10. (See details of book talk below) 


"To embellish something, to transform it with decoration and then to add more, is at the core of the Victorian sense of beauty, " said Schaeffer, who has been making reproduction historical clothing for 27 years.  

She will give a talk on her new book October 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Portsmouth Athenaeum Reading Room, 6-8 Market Square. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Michelle Tolini Finamore, curator of fashion arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, had this to say about the book: "In an era in which our closets are full of mass-produced clothing, Embellishments offers us a rich and lushly illustrated book that combines an obvious love of handcraft with intimate knowledge of Victorian garment construction."

Lynne Francis-Lunn of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem described the book as a "must have"  for "serious fashionistas and Victorian enthusiasts." 

Embellishments photo by Lisa Nugent, of UNH

The book is based on the Irma Bowen Textile Collection at the University of New Hampshire.

Schaeffer earned her master’s degree in history after researching more than 50 surviving Federal period dresses for her thesis topic at UNH. In the fall of 1999 she began work on UNH’s textile collection and, in the process of selecting garments for an exhibition, participated in a mannequin workshop at the Textile History Conservation Center in the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Mass.

 In addition to her work as a seamstress, researcher and guest curator, she served as assistant director of the UNH Museum of Art from 2001 to 2010.

For more information, go to or

The Athenaeum is a nonprofit membership museum and library founded in 1817.  

Photo credit is Lisa Nugent, University of New Hampshire

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Victorian Costume Embellishments Book Talk
Sunday, December 17, 2017 
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