Women & Hats

Vintage People on Photo Postcards

Tom Phillips

Women & Hats

Tom Phillips

Distributed for the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

With a foreword by Philip Treacy
112 pages | 200 color plates | 7 x 7 1/2 | © 2010
Cloth $15.00 ISBN: 9781851243624 Published February 2011 For sale in North America only

To celebrate the acquisition of the archive of distinguished artist Tom Phillips, the Bodleian Library asked the artist to assemble and design a series of books drawing on his themed collection of over 50,000 photographic postcards. These encompass the first half of the twentieth century, a period in which, thanks to the ever cheaper medium of photography, ordinary people could afford to own portraits of themselves. Each of the books in the series contains two hundred images chosen from a visually rich vein of social history. Their covers also feature thematically linked paintings, specially created for each title, from Phillips’s signature work, A Humument.

Women & Hats explores the remarkable range found in the world of millinery, from outrageous Edwardian creations to the inventive austerities of World War II. Each of these unique and visually stunning books give a rich glimpse of forgotten times and will be greatly valued by art and history lovers alike.



      Philip Treacy


      Tom Phillips


General Comments and Notes

Review Quotes
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London
“These images are captivating visual vignettes. We may not know who the subjects are, but the postcards offer us a glimpse of their interests, their time, and their world. Tom Phillips’s exceptional collection gives us a fascinating chance to retrieve something of these lives.”
Brian Lund, editor, Picture Postcard Monthly

“Picture postcards from a century ago capture unique moments in time and place and are a wonderful social history record. Tom Phillips is adept at seeking out and choosing amazingly evocative postcard images.”

Wall Street Journal
“The heyday of the milliner’s art, like that of the picture postcard, is long past, but Tom Phillips’s Women and Hats summons up a fond nostalgia for both. The book’s 200 photographs, taken between 1900 and 1950, portray middle-class British women who stepped into High Street studios to purchase penny-a-print photographic postcards of themselves. Most of the women remain unidentified, but the messages they wrote bring a few to fleeting life, including Connie Beldig, who in 1910 wrote from Manchester: ‘Do you recognise me now, as it is so long since you saw me, but this isn’t a very good photo.’ It is, however, a very impressive hat.:”
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