The Summer Costume Days are over now – it’s taken a little while to recover! The last was particularly busy, with about 40 visitors dressed in the morning and twice as many in the afternoon – not bad for four hours. We had some lovely comments too from visitors which is greatly appreciated.
After a day of repairs, including the complete rebuilding of two French hoods, we’ve managed to cut out another pattern for the schools’ project. This one’s for a mid Tudor noble lady, based on the Princess Elizabeth pattern in The Tudor Child. It’s also loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk in blue and red, who had a very distant connection to Trerice through her stepmother Mary Arundell of Lanherne, a cousin to our Arundells (the FitzAlan earl of Arundel’s coat of arms is also in the plasterwork of the Great Chamber at Trerice – we’ve always assumed it was something to do with this marriage connection … but not completely sure). So far it includes a padded petticoat, a red kirtle with red and gold forepart and a blue velvet gown (a really nice shade, similar to the portrait) with large sleeves and fore-sleeves to match the kirtle.
We had another 500+ day today (over 500 visitors) which is really busy for Trerice as it’s quite a small house. About 120 of those visitors were game enough to try on a costume! We’ve introduced four sessions a day for trying on clothes so that the volunteers dressing the public can get a regular break, which makes it a little less exhausting than last year. 50 of those 120 today were in the 45 minute session after lunch!
Several more of the schools’ project outfits had a test run today so we could see which items needed alterations and tweaking. It was great to see them being worn, so a big thank you to our testers.
It was great to see the Parade Ground looking so busy when we emerged for lunch.
Our summer costume days are underway, we’ve had a lot of interest from visitors and some good weather has meant we’ve been a little less manic than usual, which is nice.
We’ve finished two more outfits for the schools’ project – an Elizabethan sailor and a mid Tudor loose gown and loose kirtle.
The sailor’s outfit is based (roughly) on one I saw in the Queen’s Gallery in London last year, with a loose tunic top and baggy knee-length hose in linen.
Also completed is an English gable hood to go with one of the early Tudor dresses.
A couple of the schools’ outfits have had a trial run in the last two costume days, which was great. We might be able to test some more in the next few weeks.
The last remaining wooden farthingale has bitten the dust 😦 The hoops had become more gaffer tape than willow, after one-too-many 10 year old sat or stood on it before we could intervene. It is now being remodelled with curtain wire which has proved to be a lot more durable with rough handling so far in our other farthingales. The skirt itself is being altered too; it was based on the Alcega/Janet Arnold pattern with hoops put into tucks of material, so there is now far too much fabric, which will distort the shape with the new wire or be ridiculously huge and awkward to sew.
We’re in the middle of Tudor Fortnight at Trerice at the moment, and the Wardour Garrison are down for the weekend. They’ve set up their tents and have been showing camp life including musket demonstrations and target practise. Hope they haven’t got blown away by the tail end of hurricane Bertha! There’s also two Tudor themed banquets being held this week in the evenings on Wednesday and Saturday. Plus a costume day tomorrow and on Wednesday, hobby horse jousting and various craft activities.