[John Styles]


Profession: Design Historian

Date of Birth: 4 December 1949
Place of Birth: Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK.

Interviewer: J C Kristensen
Location: Research Department, V&A Museum, London


John Styles is Research Professor in History at University of Hertfordshire, England. He graduated in History from Cambridge University before pursuing doctoral research at the Universities of York and Cambridge in eighteenth century British legal and social history. He taught at Universites of Bradford, Bath and Bristol before becoming involved in the setting up and teaching of the V&A/RCA MA Course in the History of Design as a visiting tutor in 1982. In 1991 Professor Styles became the Head of Postgraduate Studies and Deputy Head of Research at the V&A, also acting as the historical advisor for the V&A’s new British Galleries, 1500-1900, which opened in 2001. In 2005, he moved from the V&A to the University of Hertfordshire to take up his current position. His books include Design and the Decorative Arts: Britain 1500-1900 (London: V&A Publications, 2001), Gender, Taste and Material Culture in Britain and North America, 1700-1830 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006) and The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England (London: Yale University Press, 2007). He is currently working on a history of spinning.


Extracts have been selected by J C Kristensen with the consent of John Styles. Audio files for selective listening will be made available imminently.

Date: 24 February 2009
[Styles Track One] with audio extract about his Bradford background.
[Styles Track Two] with audio extract about important conference on crime and law in the eighteenth century, in 1972.
[Styles Track Three]
[Styles Track Four] with audio extract about working for fashion retailer Jonathan Silver in 1970s.
[Styles Track Five] with audio extract about the intellectual foundations of design history.

Date: 2 March 2009
[Styles Track Six] available in its entirety for his discussion of the formation of MA History of Design at the V&A/RCA.
[Styles Track Seven]
[Styles Track Eight]
[Styles Track Nine]
[Styles Track Ten] with audio extract about important design historical work of 1980s.
[Styles Track Eleven]
[Styles Track Twelve]

End of Recording.


Styles, J. (1990). Titus Salt and Saltaire: Industry and Virtue. Saltaire: Salts Estates Ltd.
Styles, J. and J. Brewer. (Eds.) (1980). An Ungovernable People. The English and their Law in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Centuries. London: Hutchinson.
Styles, J and M. Snodin. (2001). Design and the Decorative Arts: Britain 1500-1900. London: V&A Publications.
Styles, J and A. Vickery. (Eds.) (2006). Gender, Taste and Material Culture in Britain and North America, 1700-1830. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Styles, J. (2007). The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England. London: Yale University Press.

Book Chapters
Styles, J. (1980). "'Our Traitorous Money Makers': the Yorkshire Coiners and the Law, 1760-1783." In Styles, J. and J. Brewer (eds.) An Ungovernable People. The English and their Law in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Centuries. London: Hutchinson. pp.172-249.
Styles, J. (1981) "Popular Attitudes to the Law in the Eighteenth Century," in M. Fitzgerald, G. McLennan and J. Pawson (eds.), Crime and Society: Readings in History and Theory. London: R.K.P. pp.29-36.
Styles, J. (1983). "Embezzlement, Industry and the Law in England, 1500-1800," in M. Berg, P. Hudson and M. Sonenscher (eds.), Manufacture in Town and Country before the Factory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.173-210
Styles, J. (1989). "Print and Policing. Crime Advertising in Eighteenth-Century Provincial England," in D. Hay and F. Snyder (eds.), Police and Prosecution in Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.55-111.
Styles, J. (1993). "Manufacture, Consumption and Design in Eighteenth-Century England," in J. Brewer and R. Porter (eds.), Consumption and the World of Goods. London: Routledge. pp.527-54.
Styles, J. (1995). "The Goldsmiths and the London Luxury Trades, 1550 to 1750," in David Mitchell (ed.), Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Bankers: Innovation and the Transfer of Skill, 1550-1750. Gloucester: Alan Sutton. pp.112-120.
Styles, J. (1996). "Clothes and the Non-Elite Consumer in the North of England, 1660-1800," in J. Bottin and N. Pellegrin (eds.), Échanges et Cultures Textiles dans l'Europe Pré-Industrielle. Revue Du Nord: Lille. pp.295-308.
Styles, J. (2003). "Custom or Consumption? Plebeian Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England," in M. Berg and E. Eger (eds.), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods. London: Palgrave. pp.103-115.
Styles, J. (2004). "History in the Galleries. Developing Historical Themes for the New British Galleries", in C. Wilk and N. Humphrey (eds.), Creating the British Galleries at the V&A: A Study in Museology. London: V&A Publications/Goppion. pp.29-36.
Styles, J. (2004). "Response" to C. Dakers, "James Morrison (1789-1857): 'Napoleon of Shopkeepers', Millionaire Haberdasher, Modern Entrepreneur", in C. Breward and C. Evans (eds.), Fashion and Modernity. Oxford: Berg. pp.33-37.
Styles, J. (2004). "An Essential Guide to British Painting: Hogarth," in G. Tawadros (ed.), Changing States: Contemporary Art and Ideas in an Era of Globalization. London: Institute of International Visual Arts. pp.72-7.
Styles, J. (2006). "Picturing Domesticity: The Cottage Genre in Late-Eighteenth Century Britain", in J. Aynsley and C. Grant (eds.), Imagined Interiors: Representations of the Domestic Interior from the Renaissance to the Present. London: V&A Publications. pp.154-5.

Styles, J. (1977). "Eighteenth-century Criminal Records." Social History Society Newsletter 2(1): 4-5. [Conference report].
Styles, J. (1977). "Criminal Records." Historical Journal 20: 977-981.
Styles, J. (1982). "The Eighteenth-Century Magistrate as Detective: Samuel Lister of Little Horton." Bradford Antiquary 47: 98-117.
Styles, J. (1983). "Sir John Fielding and the Problem of Criminal Investigation in Eighteenth-Century England." Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 33: 127-149.
Styles, J. and J. Innes. (1986). "The Crime Wave: Recent Writing on Crime and Criminal Justice in Eighteenth-Century England." Journal of British Studies 25: 380-435.
Styles, J. (1987). "The Emergence of the Police: Explaining Police Reform in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England." The British Journal of Criminology 27: 15-22.
Styles, J. (1987). "Policing a Female Workforce: the Origins of the Worsted Acts." Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History 52: 39-41 [Conference report].
Styles, J. (1988). "Crime in Eighteenth-Century England." History Today 38: 36-42.
Styles, J. (1988). "Design for Large-Scale Production in Eighteenth-Century Britain." Oxford Art Journal 11(2): 10-16.
Styles, J. (1984). "Clothing the North. The Supply of Non-Elite Clothing in the Eighteenth-Century North of England." Textile History 25: 139-166.
Styles, J., J. Hoppit and J. Innes. (1994). "Towards a History of Parliamentary Legislation, 1660-1800." Parliamentary History 13: 312-321.
Styles, J. (1995). "A New Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum." History Workshop Journal 40: 239-243.
Styles, J. (1998). "Dress in History: Reflections on a Contested Terrain." Fashion Theory 2: 383-390.
Styles, J. (2000). "Product Innovation in Early Modern Londo." Past and Present 168: 124-169.
Styles, J. (2001). "Innovation and Design in Tudor and Stuart Britain." History Today 51(12): 44-51.
Styles, J. (2002). "Involuntary Consumers? The Eighteenth-Century Servant and her Clothes." Textile History 33(1): 9-21.

Magazine articles and other
Styles, J. (1988). "Michel Foucault," pp.137-8, "Sir Leon Radzinowicz," pp.347-8, "George Rudé," p.361 in J. Cannon, et al (eds.), The Dictionary of Historians. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Styles, J. (2001). "British Galleries: Treasure Island." V&A Magazine (September-December): 16-17.
Styles, J. (2008). "Time Piece: Working Men and Watches." History Today 58(1): 44-50.
Styles, J. (2008). "Style for the Workers." BBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine.
Styles, J. (2008). "Fashion or Health?" BBC History Magazine.