Ornamentalism is the first book to focus on Renaissance accessories, their histories and meanings. The collection's eminent contributors bring accessories to the center of a discussion about material culture, dress, and adornment, exploring their use, significance, and multiple lives. Defining an “accessory” in the broadest sense—including scents, veils, handkerchiefs, lingerie, codpieces, dildos, jewels, ruffs, wax seals, busks, shoes, scissors, and even boys—the book provides a rich cultural history that’s eclectic and bold, including discussions of bodily functions, personal hygiene, and sexuality.
Lively, well-written, and richly illustrated with color plates, Ornamentalism will appeal to scholars of the material past and social practice, and those interested in fashion studies, manners and morals, gender and sexuality, theater and performance.
"Much of the appeal of this fascinating book is its ability to challenge our assumptions about both accessories and the Renaissance."
—Times Higher Education
"The work effectively addresses, through insightful commentaries, the social structures of Italy and England that created and controlled personal ornamentation at the time. This work will be useful for students of material culture and for others looking for fresh views on adornment in the early modern period."
"[Ornamentalism] will appeal to those with a specialist interest in the material culture associated with male and female bodies in Renaissance Italy and England. However, the range of intelletual and theoretical approaches will ensure that there is something well worth reading for literature specialists, historians, and a wider audience of specialists and nonspecialists alike."
—Maria Hayward, University of Southampton, Renaissance Quarterly