A Thousand Fancies… The Gorgeous Georgians

The Gorgeous Georgians at Berrington Hall

This week the team at Berrington Hall are putting together the Gorgeous Georgians exhibition.  Here’s a sneak preview of one of the beautiful Sack Back robes that will be displayed throughout 2014 at Berrington Hall.

The robe à la Française, or sack back, exemplifies one of the archetypal silhouettes of the Georgian period. The vibrant cherry red dress below features in Jane Ashelford’s The Art of Dress as a brilliant surviving example of this style of dress. Whilst photographing this particular garment it struck me how remarkable it was to have a dress from the mid 1770s survive in such an incredible condition. The fabric remains almost completely unblemished and has seemingly resisted the usual agents of damage that plague costume such as light, pest and mechanical damage.

This dress, like many of its style, comprises of three separate components; Robe, stomacher and skirt. In Costume in Detail Nancy Bradfield writes that the button fastening stomacher component of this outfit is unusual for its time. Notes on the conservation records state;

Natalie Rothstein said that the importation of this French silk would have been illegal in the 1770’s, the prohibition dated from 1776. Although it would have been illegal to import silk in a roll, it would not have been illegal to import the made-up gown.

This dress also features in Janet Arnolds Patterns of Fashion on page 34. If you would like an opportunity to view this incredible dress in the flesh, amongst many other gorgeous items from the Snowshill Collection, then come and visit the  exhibition A Thousand Fancies running throughout 2014 at Berrington Hall.

Watch this space for the complete 2014 programme full to the brim of gorgeous costume exhibitions, installations, demonstrations, workshops and activities running throughout 2014 at Berrington Hall 🙂

5 Comments Add yours

  1. What a great blog, and what a great collection – I had no idea the costumes in the wade collection were so sumptuous. And it is lovely to see these nice large images of the costumes, and all their fascinating details.


  2. Hi Ellie, great post! Did you get our e-mail a couple of weeks ago after we met you at Berrington? It may have gone into your junk? Let us know if not and we’ll re-send it again 🙂 Sarah and Craig


    1. The Hidden Wardrobe says:

      Please try me again! so lovely to hear from you…I’ll have a programme for you in the next week or two 🙂


      1. No worries, we’ve sent it again for you so should be landing as we speak!


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