Aileen Ribeiro - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Aileen Ribeiro

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Aileen Ribeiro

Professor Emerita

Aileen Ribeiro read history at King’s College, London, followed by postgraduate study, MA (1971) and Ph.D (1975) at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She was Head of the History of Dress Section at the Courtauld Institute from 1975 to 2009; appointed Professor in the History of Art at the University of London in 2000, she is now Professor Emeritus. She sit on the board of the British Art Journal. She has published many books and articles on various aspects of the history of dress, and lectures widely in Great Britain, Europe and North America. She has acted as costume consultant/contributor to many major exhibitions, which include: Reynolds (Royal Academy of Arts, London: 1986); Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe 1830 to 1870 (National Portrait Gallery, London: 1987 and the Petit Palais, Paris: 1988); John Singleton Copley in America, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,1995; Goya: La imagen de la mujer (Prado, Madrid: 2001 and National Gallery of Art, Washington: 2002); Whistler, Women and Fashion (Frick Collection, New York: 2003) – the catalogue of this exhibition was given the William E. Fischelis Book Award by the Victorian Society in America for 2004. In 2018 she received an Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts, from the Bard Graduate Center, New York.

Recent contributions to exhibition catalogues include an essay on Renoir’s use of fashion in his painting La Loge, in an exhibition at the Courtauld Institute: Renoir at the Theatre. Looking at La Loge (2008); Batoni’s use of fashion in Pompeo Batoni 1708-1787. L’Europa delle Corti e il Grand Tour, Lucca 2008; an essay on Gainsborough’s portrait of Ann Ford in the catalogue Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman (Cincinnati Art Museum 2010); an essay on Gustave Caillebotte’s painting Paris Street, Rainy Day for the exhibition catalogue Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity (Paris, New York and Chicago 2012); and an essay ‘Moving pictures, silent movies and the art of William Hogarth’ in the Hollywood Costume catalogue (V&A 2012).


‘The beauty of the particular: dress in Liotard’s images of women’, in Jean-Etienne Liotard, Royal Academy  2015 (This catalogue was long-listed for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2016)

‘Being at Court’, in Enlightened Princesses. Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern   World, Yale Center for British Art & Historic Royal Palaces 2017

‘Renoir’s Way with Clothes’, in Renoir and Friends; Luncheon of the Boating Party, ed. Eliza Rathbone, Phillips Collection Washington 2017

‘’Some Anglo-French Comparisons in Fashion’, in Fashion Drive. Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts, Kunsthaus Zürich, 2017

Research interests

  • The history of dress (including fashion) from the early 17th century to the early 20th century, with particular reference to the analysis of clothing in art
  • Clothing and politics
  • Artistic and aesthetic dress
  • Fashion and caricature


Selected books

Clothing Art: The Visual Culture of Fashion 1600-1914, Yale University Press 2017 (winner of the Apollo magazine Book of the Year Award, 2017)

Facing Beauty. Painted Women and Cosmetic Art (Yale University Press, 2011).

Fashion and Fiction. Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England (Yale University Press, 2005); shortlisted for the Sir Banister Fletcher Award 2006, and the William M B Berger prize for British Art History, 2006)

Dress and Morality [revised edition], Berg Publications, London and New York, 2003

Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe [revised edition], Yale University Press, 2002

The Gallery of Fashion National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press, 2000

Recent essays include


  • ‘The Mirror of History: The Art of Dress in Late Eighteenth-Century France’, essay in French Art of the Eighteenth Century: The Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture Series at the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Michael L. Rosenberg Collection 2016
  • ‘A Story of Pride and Prejudice: Perceptions of Spain and Spanish dress in Seventeenth-century England’, in Spanish Fashion at the Courts of Early Modern Europe, eds. José Luis Colomer and Amalia Descalzo, Madrid, 2 vols 2014
  • ‘Face Value: Dress and Appearance in the Work of Samuel Cooper’, in Warts and All. The Portrait Miniatures of Samuel Cooper, Philip Mould 2013
  • ‘Fashioning the feminine’, in The Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures Drawing satire in eighteenth-century, Paris, eds C. Jones, J. Carey & E. Richardson, Voltaire Foundation, University of Oxford, OUP, 2012
  • ‘Painting’: Refashioning Art – Some Visual Approaches to the Study of the History of Dress’, in Fashion and Art, eds A. Geczy and V. Karaminas, London 2012
  • ‘Street Style: Dress in John Gay’s Trivia’ in Walking the Streets of Eighteenth Century London: John Gay’s ‘Trivia’, edited by C. Brant and S. Whyman, Oxford University Press 2007, pp. 131-148 (paperback edition 2009)

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