An Amazing Fabric Diary

barbarajohnson2© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A British reverend’s daughter named Barbara Johnson (1738-1825) kept a meticulous diary throughout most of her life (from age 8 to well into her 80s) of the fabrics she used and details of the garments she made with them. What an amazing personal and historical document. Doesn’t it inspire you to do the same?

The original diary is now a part of the Victoria & Albert Museum‘s collection. It was reproduced in the 1980s and published under the title A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics — the now out-of-print book goes for $200-$450 on Amazon. So unless you have an unlimited textile book budget, check your local university’s library to see if they have a copy you can browse through!

barbarajohnson© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

More on Barbara Johnson on the blogs Le Divan Fumoir Bohémien (in French) and Two Teens in the Time of Austen. Thanks very much to Rosa Pomar for the introduction!

One Comment

  1. Nadia says:

    Wow, thanks for posting this, Kim! I work at the V&A and I hadn’t heard about this wonderful fabric diary (when you’re lucky enough to work in a museum with so many wonderful collections sometimes even the most interesting things go unnoticed). I’ll have to ask one of the textile curators about it!