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Revolutionary Relics: Survival and Consecration

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Revolutionary dress played a visible and highly symbolic role in festivals and new species of political ritual and official procedure. This article tracks this usage, and the subsequent fate of such politicised forms of dress, as they fell victim to successive political regimes. Old clothes had a powerful function as bearers of memory and guarantors of a sometimes proscribed tradition. Collecting, as both an institutional and private activity, is discussed, and how this fed into evolving exhbition culture in 19th-century France. The origins of the Musée Carnavalet in Paris are considered in terms of the place of dress in the origins of the collections, as is the cult of Napoleon, manifest in the Musée de l'Armée, and the Brunon collection in Salon, Provence.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2002

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