George Walker: Documenting the Costume of a Working Class

George Walker (1781-1856) was born in Seacroft; near Leeds; the son of a successful businessman, he was educated in York as an artist and bookseller. The majority of his artworks depicted rural landscapes and local people, Walker’s work is particularly valuable to the study of historical costume as he placed particular focus on the occupational clothing of tradesmen and women in the regency period. In the hard times of old England, Very few extant artefacts of working-class dress survive today so Walker’s paintings stand out as some of the best documented evidence of labourer’s dress of the period.

Costume of Yorkshire, printed in 1814, is an invaluable resource for those studying working class dress and society of the early 19th century. Walker’s collection of prints is an insight to the textile-centered industry of the period.


The Cloth Dressers

At the close of the 18th century, Britain’s woollen cloth industry was in it’s heyday Colloquially known as ‘croppers’, the cloth dressers were men employed in England’s booming wool industry,


Making Oatcakes

walker 33rd regiment

The Recruiting Party

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