The Costume of Yorkshire

George Walker

The Costume of Yorkshire

George Walker


Book containing forty colour plates, each depicting an aspect of Yorkshire life in 1814, accompanied by a page or more of explanatory text. A wide range of economic and social topics is covered, and because of topic matter and date, the book is indispensible for an understanding of the industrilization occurring at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Paper pages bound in heavy tooled leather with a gilt border. Explanations are written in both English and French. It is a folio size volume. Plate number 37 - The Leech Finders

Display Label

When countrywomen were depicted in contemporary prints and illustrations, they were invariably wearing short jackets made of striped or checked cotton or linen, known as bedgowns or bedjackets. Plates from two different books are shown here, both published in 1814: the "welsh woman" in the main picture is from "Dresses and Manners of the English", and is washing her laundry in a stream wearing a checked cotton bedgown over her red wool skirt and with a yellow kerchief. In the first print below, from George Walker's "Costumes of Yorkshire", the group of leech finders working in a river are also wearing neckerchieves, caps, thick skirts and bedgowns fastened at the waist with aprons. In the satyrical caricature, "Farmer Giles' Establishment", the housewife serving Christmas dinner at table has her bedgown too. The cotton sufficient to make a bedgown was not cheap, or indeed were ready-made gowns, even though they were not fashionable garments. For example, in 1779 Sarah Earnshaw, a household servant, earned only 1 shilling and 6 pence a week (7p) as a household servant, and she had to spend 2 shillings (10p) on purchasing enough cotton for a bedgown. However gowns were hardwearing, robust and easily washable, lasting for a number of years, which explains why they remained perennially popular.

Object Name

The Costume of Yorkshire

Creators Name

George Walker

Date Created



Size: 48cm x 34cm

accession number


Place of creation

United Kingdom



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