A Thousand Fancies at Berrington Hall, 2014.
From February 15th Berrington Hall will be open from 11am to welcome the curious folk who want a slice of sumptuous Georgian grandeur. Against the backdrop of the jewel like interiors a small group has started to gather in one of the bedrooms upstairs; a cherry red sackback robe accompanies her glittering, sparkling companion who is in conversation with a pretty cream silk polonaise. They are admiring the tropical looking early 18th century jacket who is in turn envious of a waistcoat threatening to upstage her with all his purl, sequins and sparkle.
This gathering of Gorgeous Georgians is a small exhibition that will reside at Berrington Hall throughout 2014. From March 2014 this group will be competing for attention from our new exhibition space dedicated to displaying 5 bi-monthly themed exhibitions from the Charles Paget Wade collection until the end of the year…and did I mention the two exhibitions of Georgian & Regency costume from film and tv?…Maybe I should leave that until my next post! Until then please enjoy another gorgeous, sumptuous early eighteenth century delight from Berrington Hall…
The knock out Jacket
Isn’t this jacket simply gorgeous?? If this beautiful creation has not yet elicited a ‘wow’ from you then maybe this might; the brocade fabric has been dated 1736-40. Its condition, like many items in Wade’s collection, is remarkable given its age.
The conservation record describes the fabric as Begonia French pink silk. The flowering plants that come under the Begonia family are native to moist subtropical and tropical climates which is what gives this jacket its truly tropical look; in this respect the style is not too dissimilar from collections seen on the highstreet and in modern couture. H&M’s collaboration with Versace in 2011 springs to mind. People who wear the loud Versace prints are not normally regarded for their wall flower qualities and I think the same could be said for the Georgian wearer of this jacket! Whoever she was, she liked to be seen. If she were alive today I imagine Versace would be her brand.
This bodice of this jacket is lined with pale blue silk jacket. The construction of this close fitting bodice with ‘v’ neckline forms a low pointed waistline front and back. The back is in two panels with two whalebone inserts. The fan pleats on the side of the skirt create a short, flared skirt detail with a centre back vent with box pleats side back. The silhouette of this jacket is also defined by its large stiff winged cuffs. The fastenings comprise of three self-covered buttons on the lower centre front of the jacket for laces to fasten over the stomacher. On this particular example the remains of a fragment of the matching silk lace is wound discreetly around the top button to preserve it.
Thanks for reading and if you want to see more of this gorgeous collection keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for more information about the many costume exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, reenactors and more at Berrington Hall throughout 2014.