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Lesley Miller (historian)

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Lesley Miller
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Lesley Miller is Senior Curator of Textiles and Dress (before 1800) at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Professor of Dress and Textile History at University of Glasgow. She specialises in early modern textiles and fashion and has been instrumental in developing the history of dress as a scholarly subject, and in particular bringing together the studying of material objects and written sources in discussing textiles and clothing.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

As a child Miller learnt to sew, and spent teenage years making costumes for plays or museum exhibits under her mother's guidance. Her BA was in modern languages, but she then switched to study the History of Dress at The Courtauld Institute for an MA, after finding the course in a book about historical costume.[1]

Career[edit]

Miller's PhD at Brighton Polytechnic was supervised by Lou Taylor, with a thesis entitled ‘Designers in the Lyons Silk Industry, 1712-1787’. She then took a post at Staffordshire University (1998-1991), before moving to Winchester School of Art in 1996). She collaborated in establishing the MA in the History of Textiles and Dress at Winchester School of Art and was its first Course Leader (1992 – 2000), before becoming Course Leader for the BA History of Art and Design (2000 – 2002) and then Head of the Division of History of Art and Design (2002 – 2005).[2]

In 1993 she wrote the first edition of her seminal monograph on couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, which is currently on its third revised edition.[3]

In 2005 Miller joined the V&A as Senior Curator of Textiles and Dress (before 1800), and was Lead Curator on the reinterpretation of the galleries devoted to Europe 1600-1815. Her scheme that looked to explain the connections between decorative arts in different parts of Europe, and widen the focus beyond Western Europe to cover both Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, which had previously been lacking in the V&A's collecting strategy.[4] [5]

Between 2010 and 2013 Lesley was a Principal Investigator on the major research project Fashioning the Early Modern: Creativity and Innovation in Europe 1500-1800, collaborating with partners in universities and museums in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.[6] The project sought to trace and understand the reasons for innovations in fashion in the early modern period (such as the universal wearing of wigs for men, and the proliferation of ribbons as a decorative device after mechanical manufacturing techniques were invented).[7] Miller's strand in particular looked to bring together objects, texts and images in order to interrogate the ways in which they were used to translate knowledge of innovation from one location to another.[8]

Since 2015 Miller has returned to academia part time, joining the School of Culture and Creative Arts at University of Glasgow as Professor of Dress and Textile History alongside her work at the V&A.

Selected works[edit]

  • Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, V & A Publishing, 2017. ISBN 1851775226 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.
  • Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century French Silk Designers, Pasold Research Fund, 2016.
  • Selling Silks: a Merchant's Sample Book 1764, V & A Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781851777815 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.

References[edit]

External links[edit]


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