The great costume book of pre-Commonwealth England
By HOLLAR, Wenceslaus , 1640

Ornatus muliebris Anglicanus, or The Severall Habits of English Women from the Nobilitie, to the country woman, as they are in these times.

Social & Political
  • Author: HOLLAR, Wenceslaus
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Sold by H. Overton at the White Horse without New-gate
  • Publication date: 1640 [but c1717].
  • Physical description: Small quarto (250 by 180mm), title, and 26 etched plates (each measuring approximately 122 by 72mm), etched title to the 'Theatrum mulierum...' (dated 1643) bound in after title, nineteenth century half calf, rebacked.
  • Dimensions: 253 by 186mm. (10 by 7.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 18269


The first 16 plates “depict ladies of the highest fashion wearing the grandest cloths that Caroline costumiers could provide. Plates 17-25 show women smartly dressed – scarcely decked out with the splendour required by the court, but in a style more than adequate for the more sober requirements of the city. The final figure, turning her back on the predecessors in the set, is a peasant woman with a basket of vegetables, whom Hollar has deliberately etched in a more severe style. The plates have been arranged with great care so that the poses rotate and complement each other” (Godfrey p75).

Several of the images have been derived from the canvases of Anthony van Dyck, as Hollar has access to van Dyke’s studio “over a period of years [with,] presumably, permission to make sketches” (Godfrey p13). At least four of the costumed women may be identified in paintings by van Dyck still extant.


Ownership inscription of “Wm Roberts, Worplesdon” to front loose endpaper and title.
William Hayward Roberts (baptised 1734–1791), schoolmaster, poet, cleric, and Provost of Eton College.


  1. NHG Hollar 294-320 II
  2. Pennington 1778-1803A.

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