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Riding habit
  • Riding habit
    Redfern, John, born 1820 - died 1895
  • Enlarge image

Riding habit

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1912 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Redfern, John, born 1820 - died 1895 (maker)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs J. G. M. Stewart and Mrs I. O'Reilly

  • Museum number:

    T.333 to B-1982

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The construction of riding-habits is a highly specialized branch of the tailor's art. Because riding-habits are subject to considerable stress, the emphasis throughout is on firm and accurate construction. Seams that take strain and might rub are lined and reinforced with black cotton, and buttons are backed with cotton. This particular example was made for Mrs James Fraser (née Miss Grace Isabelle Spencer-Smith), the mother of the donors.

John Redfern was born in England about 1819. In the 1870s he began designing beautifully constructed and practical tailored garments to meet the needs of women engaging in various sports, from yachting and tennis to archery and riding. His designs were adopted by royalty, actresses and fashionable women for everyday wear as well as for sports. He opened branches in London (1881), Paris (1881), New York (1884) and Rhode Island (1885). He closed his fashion houses in 1932. They were resurrected in 1936, but closed again in 1940.

Physical description

The single-breasted jacket with cut-away fronts is lined throughout in pearl-grey satin and has the label PARIS NEW YORK REDFERN LONDON plus a tape stamped with the number 57983. The matching flared apron skirt is cut away at the back and shaped at the right side to accommodate the knee (when mounted). Strong black cotton twill forms a capacious inner pocket and shaped linings. The calf-length breeches in jersey (for ease of movement) fly-fasten at the front. The seat and right knee are lined with chamois.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1912 (made)


Redfern, John, born 1820 - died 1895 (maker)




Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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