Aileen Ribeiro read history at King’s College, London, followed by postgraduate study, MA (1971) and Ph.D (1975) at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She was Head of the History of Dress Section at the Courtauld Institute from 1975 to 2009; appointed Professor in the History of Art at the University of London in 2000, she is now Professor Emeritus. She sit on the board of the British Art Journal. She has published many books and articles on various aspects of the history of dress, and lectures widely in Great Britain, Europe and North America. She has acted as costume consultant/contributor to many major exhibitions, which include: Reynolds (Royal Academy of Arts, London: 1986); Winterhalter and the Courts of Europe 1830 to 1870 (National Portrait Gallery, London: 1987 and the Petit Palais, Paris: 1988); John Singleton Copley in America, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,1995; Goya: La imagen de la mujer (Prado, Madrid: 2001 and National Gallery of Art, Washington: 2002); Whistler, Women and Fashion (Frick Collection, New York: 2003) – the catalogue of this exhibition was given the William E. Fischelis Book Award by the Victorian Society in America for 2004. In 2018 she received an Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts, from the Bard Graduate Center, New York.
Recent contributions to exhibition catalogues include an essay on Renoir’s use of fashion in his painting La Loge, in an exhibition at the Courtauld Institute: Renoir at the Theatre. Looking at La Loge (2008); Batoni’s use of fashion in Pompeo Batoni 1708-1787. L’Europa delle Corti e il Grand Tour, Lucca 2008; an essay on Gainsborough’s portrait of Ann Ford in the catalogue Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman (Cincinnati Art Museum 2010); an essay on Gustave Caillebotte’s painting Paris Street, Rainy Day for the exhibition catalogue Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity (Paris, New York and Chicago 2012); and an essay ‘Moving pictures, silent movies and the art of William Hogarth’ in the Hollywood Costume catalogue (V&A 2012).
‘The beauty of the particular: dress in Liotard’s images of women’, in Jean-Etienne Liotard, Royal Academy 2015 (This catalogue was long-listed for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2016)
‘Being at Court’, in Enlightened Princesses. Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, Yale Center for British Art & Historic Royal Palaces 2017
‘Renoir’s Way with Clothes’, in Renoir and Friends; Luncheon of the Boating Party, ed. Eliza Rathbone, Phillips Collection Washington 2017
‘’Some Anglo-French Comparisons in Fashion’, in Fashion Drive. Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts, Kunsthaus Zürich, 2017