Sonia Ashmore Biography

Sonia Ashmore measuring a garment in the Clothworkers’ Centre, 
Blythe House. © Sonia Ashmore.

Sonia Ashmore measuring a garment in the Clothworkers’ Centre, Blythe House. © Sonia Ashmore.

Name: Dr Sonia Ashmore

Role: Research Fellow

Research Interests

My research interests have developed from teaching general design history via a detailed study of Liberty & Co.’s marketing of Asia in the nineteenth century (unpublished PhD thesis) to broader cultural exchange between Britain and South Asia and also Japan. More specifically I have been investigating the V&A’s South Asian textile collections in their historical context. In earlier research I also looked at the broader development of department stores and consumption of fashion in the post WW2 period.

Selected Research Outputs (Exhibitions)

Contributed to V&A Museum’s ‘Sixties Fashion’ exhibition and publication, 2006

Books and exhibition catalogues

‘Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1855-1938), artist’, in H. Cortazzi (Ed) Britain and Japan: Biographical  Portraits, Vol. VIII. Leiden-Boston: Global Oriental (2013) 201-211,

Muslin. London: V&A Publishing, 2011

‘Aesthetic textiles’, in S. Calloway and L. F. Orr (Eds) The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic  Movement in Britain, 1860-1900. London: V&A Publishing, 2011

The Diary of Charles Holme’s 1889 Visit to Japan, transcribed, edited and annotated with
T. Huberman and Y. Suga (Folkestone: Global Oriental) and Tokyo, Sairyusha &
Koninklijke Brill NV, 2011

‘Hippies Bohemians and Chintz’, in C. Breward, P. Crang and R. Crill (Eds) British Asian Style.
London: V&A Publishing (2010) 106-121

‘Dress’ and ‘International Fashion’, in Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History from the
mid-19th century to the present day in A.Iriye and P.-Y. Saunier (Eds). New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2009

‘Liberty and Lifestyle; shopping for art and luxury in nineteenth century London’, in D.
Hussey and M.Ponsonby (eds.), Buying for the Home: Domestic Consumption from the
Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008

‘Far Out and Way In: London as Fashion Cosmopolis 1945-1979’, in C. Breward and D. Gilbert
(Eds) Fashion’s World Cities. Oxford, Berg (2006) pp. 201-216

‘“I Think They’re All Mad”; Shopping in Swinging London’, in C. Breward, D. Gilbert and J. Lister (Eds) Sixties Fashion. London: V&A Publishing (2006) &Tokyo: blues interactions, inc.


‘What history can teach us about the shopping crisis’, with Chris Bowlby. BBC History. April
2009, pp.18-19


S. Ashmore, B. Edwards and D. Gilbert, ‘Mr Bourne’s dilemma’. Consumer culture, property
speculation and department store demise: the rise and fall of Bourne and Hollingsworth on
London’s Oxford Street.’ Journal of Historical Geography III  (2012) 1-13

F. Driver and S. Ashmore, ‘The Mobile Museum: Collecting and Circulating Indian Textiles in
 Victorian Britain’. Victorian Studies 52:3 (2010) 353-385

P. Crang and S. Ashmore, ‘The Transnational Spaces of Things: South Asian Textiles in Britain
 and The Grammar of Ornament.’ European Review of History 16 (2009) 655-678

‘Colour and corruption: issues in the nineteenth century Anglo-Indian textile trade’. TEXT 37
 (2009/10) pp. 11-18

‘Caspar Purdon Clarke and the South Kensington Museum: Textile Networks between Britain
and Asia, 1850-1890’. In Networks of Design:  Proceedings of the 2008 International
Conference of the Design History Society (UK), J. Glynne, F. Hackney and V. Minton (Eds) E-
book. Universal Publishers, Boca Raton, pp.140-146

‘Owen Jones and the V&A Collections’. V&A Online Journal. Issue 1, No 1, Autumn 2008.

With Y. Suga, ‘Red House and Asia: A House and its Heritage’. Journal of William Morris Studies 17:1 (2006)

‘Extinction and Evolution: department stores in London’s West End, 1945-1982’, London Journal 31:1 (2006) pp. 41-64

Related Links

South Asian Textiles
V&A Collection: 1960s Fashion
Viva Voices

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This book charts the history of muslin, a cotton textile so fine as to be almost invisible, and the story of its export from India to Europe and Ameri…

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