January 31, 2016
Annual Dinner Meeting and
talk by Betsy Williams on "Dress and Décor: Textiles and Jewelry from Late Antique Egypt"
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Betsy Williams told us about furnishing textiles and dress in late antique Egypt, commonly called "Coptic" textiles, focusing on Dumbarton Oaks’ and the Textile Museum's rich holdings of fabric from this period. The talk first discussed the popularity for collecting these textiles in the early twentieth-century, before delving specifically into fine examples of dress and interior furnishings.
It also served as useful background information for anyone interested in attending the Institute of the Study of the Ancient World's up-coming exhibition on late antique textiles from Egypt, opening in New York in late February 2016.
Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Dospel Williams is Post-doctoral Teaching Fellow in Byzantine Art History, splitting her time between the Dumbarton Oaks Museum Department and the Department of Art History at the George Washington University. Her Ph.D. dissertation at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, explored attitudes towards adornment in the medieval eastern Mediterranean and included a catalogue of precious metal jewelry of these periods. At Dumbarton Oaks, Dr. Williams coordinates a collaborative cataloguing project on late antique and medieval textiles headed by the Curator and Museum Director, Gudrun Buehl. Betsy has also worked as curatorial assistant in the Department of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and completed dissertation research as a fellow in the Islamic Department there.
For more information on the topic of textiles and jewelry from late antique Egypt, a 232-page catalog for the Oriental Institute exhibition "A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians and Jews in Old Cairo" can be downloaded here.
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