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A winner from head to toe!

Posted on 8 March 2019

Elizabeth Dunnett is the recipient of this year's prize with an essay inspired by her collection of works relating to historical fashion.

Books in the collection of Elizabeth Dunnett, winner of the 2019 Fothergill Book Collecting Prize.

Elizabeth won the 2019 Book Collecting Prize with her essay Head to Toe: Historical Costume from Antiquity to 1930. She will now go on to compete in the Antiquarian Booksellers Association National Book Collecting Prize, alongside the winners of similar competitions at other universities.

Elizabeth's interest in historical fashion isn't restricted to collecting and admiring the books - she also makes dresses from old patterns. We're very excited that she will be joining us to display her collection at the final Wonders on Wednesday session, on 13 March from 1.30-3pm in the Yorkshire Room (in the Burton Building within the University Library).

Elizabeth Dunnett wears a dress made from an antique pattern.

We asked Elizabeth to tell us a little more about her collection, and how she feels about winning this prize:

"I have been interested in historic fashion for over six years, and began collecting fashion history books not only for learning more about the topic, but also to learn how to make my own. As a third year Archaeology undergraduate, I have worked hard to weave my passion into my degree as much as I could.

I was motivated to enter my collection as soon as I read the email about the prize – though I never dreamt I would win, I was excited about the opportunity to share my books and how I felt about them with others. I was encouraged by the friends I have made through costuming to persevere in writing, and they gave me the confidence to submit my essay.

I am thrilled to have won this prize, and am very proud of my collection! My collection represents many years of work and travel, slowly accumulating knowledge and learning how to apply it. To have it recognised in such a way feels extremely rewarding. Winning this prize has not only enabled me to continue building up my collection, but also given me confidence that my passions are worth pursuing. I aim to use this opportunity to share my interests with others and expand my own knowledge further. In the future I hope to build a career in historic fashion, and this experience has strengthened my will to reach that goal."

A photo of four historical pattern books from the collection of Elizabeth Dunnett, winner of the 2019 Fothergill Book Collecting Prize.