Killerton excursion and costume detour

Last week we had a lovely sunny day for our visit to Killerton. The 18th century house is set in a lovely garden. The willow deer are a nice touch to show it used to be a deer park. In the house there are several paintings of which we have engravings or prints at Trerice – the Acland family owned both in the 19th century- which added to the homely feel. I think I could have spent hours in the library…

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The costume exhibition upstairs was interesting. There were some lovely dresses from the 1920s-1960s, most you could imagine wearing but some of the more modern dresses (from a/w2012) were a little extreme in some cases.

Back at Trerice, we’ve finished the repairs from the summer and started on some new items for next year.

We’ve had quite a few visitors want to see the costumes when we’re not there, so we’ve come up with a plan for a separate collection of clothes (16th and 17th century) which are easy(ish) to try on alone without help and should be able to stand the wear and tear of more constant use. In the past we’ve been given some 17th century style clothes and there were some others found in a cupboard, plus we have some material that is not completely appropriate in pattern or colour, rather than waste them we will do the common Tudor/Elizabethan practice and mend, recycle and reuse.

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Tidying up

Started on the repairs, cleaning and general tidy up after the costume day on Saturday. Nothing really major so far. The biggest task is washing all the shirts and smocks, which we’ve divided between us. Managed to get through two and half wardrobes today so only half a wardrobe to go, then we can start on some new items. Once all the clothes have been checked and cleaned we’ll pack them away in boxes and move them to the house. It’s surprising how much water has been collected in the dehumidifying pouches in a short time during the summer, so I’d hate to think what it would be like after the winter’s over!

One volunteer has been busy making a start on a pair of embroidered gloves, using a pattern from the Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns Book 1 by Jenny Tiramani and Susan North; it looks amazing already, and only part of one glove is done. Also under way is another hand-made lace edged ruff which will be left partially made up to show how it is put together (hopefully some photos will be possible soon). A start has been made to get display cases for the nightcap, gloves and ruffs, and to find the best place to put them.

A couple of our outfits have gone on tour to Tintagel Old Post Office as part of their fashion through time display, taking place from 16 to 30 September. Might be a good excuse to go visit as haven’t been there yet; trip to Killerton next week first though and hopefully a look at their costume collection.

Next costume day is on Saturday

This Saturday is the last costume day of the summer session. It’s been a busy summer with some very busy days, but we’ve had some very good feedback.

Once Saturday is done we’ll be getting on with new projects and clothes for next year – just got to work out what to do! So far there’s been requests for something for a baby to wear and a high status dress for a girl about age 6 years.

Can’t work out if girls that young really wore Spanish farthingales or not, generally the youngest I can find reference to is about age 10 to early teens, but there is a painting of two Spanish princesses of a young age with dresses that look like they might be wearing farthingales (it’s hard to tell if it’s a stiffened petticoat or just volume of petticoats that give it the shape on very small people). There seems to be a lack of full length portraits of girls the right age from the 1560s and 1570s. French farthingales appear to have been worn from a very young age, maybe there’s just more pictorial evidence as the century progressed.