First costume day of the summer holidays

Yesterday was an enjoyable costume day, relatively busy with steady numbers, and not too crazy. It was great to gave some new volunteers giving a hand and to be able to show them what we do. It's certainly true – the more the merrier – it's nice to be have time for a cuppa and keep up with demand from visitors. Hopefully we haven't scared them off!

Again, we had some lovely comments from visitors:

'Amazing. A real laugh and made me stand up taller…'

'Wonderful – great work to create the collection. Great fun had by all, many thanks!'

'I liked feeling like I'm really important.'

'…Thank you for volunteering your time for families to have a lovely experience making memories.'

We also used the occasion to showcase some of the work we've been doing in recent weeks, including the wall hanging inspired by the knot garden and Tudor-dressed rag dolls made from scraps, or cabbage, left over from making our full-sized outfits.

The doll in the blue and red uses up scraps from a similar outfit made for school groups, which is loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, step-daughter of Mary Arundell of Lanherne.


The pattern for this doll comes from The Tudor Child, and the clothes are enlarged versions of patterns in the book. Each layer of clothing can be removed. The outfit is made up of a smock, petticoat, kirtle, gown, fore-sleeves, partlet, French hood and girdle.


The other two dolls were more informally made, more guess work than with a pattern. Each has various layers, which are also removable. The Elizabethan gent wears doublet and trunkhose, with a jerkin, ruff, cloak, shoes and a tall hat. Underneath he has hose and a shirt.

The Elizabethan lady wears a smock, stays, bum roll and farthingale, with a kirtle and partlet with a ruff over the top. On top of this is a gown with hanging sleeves. She has black velvet cap decorated with gold and pearl beads, and also has black velvet shoes over stockings tied up with ribbon garters. (She's gained facial features since this photo was taken)

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Another busy week…

We’re looking forward to seeing the new wall hanging in Reception. Hopefully it will be on the wall soon.

 
Final adjustments were made to the Poldark-esque clothes for the murder mystery that took place on Saturday night, and we got ready for the second May Bank Holiday Costume Day.

                                                                               ~~~~~~
Today we had another Costume Day, which turned out to be a record breaker for us – 165 visitors dressed in 4 hours. Time to put our feet up for a bit! 

                A few of the visitors’ comments:

“A fantastic experience that was entertaining and informative. A huge thank you to all involved”.

         “Great idea! My 2 yr old didn’t want to take it off!”

“Amazing costumes. Came back twice! A great experience. Thank you”.

          “A lovely, fun and informative activity. We all enjoyed dressing up in the beautiful costumes. Thank you!”

Easter Monday costume day

Today was the first costume day of 2017. It lived up to our expectations of a busy day, with over 500 visitors, a 120 of whom dressed up. Apparently this was actually relatively quiet because since Thursday there’s been (possibly) a record 700+ visitors each day, with more than 980 (!) on Good Friday, which is probably a record for Trerice.

Anyway, we had some lovely visitors today who were willing to dress up, and we even managed to persuade some less so, but everyone appeared to have a good time. New outfits got tried out, and proved mostly successful; I think there might even be one still untested, which will have to wait for next time, in a fortnight on Monday 1 May. 

Now back to the workroom for repairs and alterations, and to see what we can come up with next. 

New wall hanging

We’ve been working on another wall hanging for Reception. This time inspiration is taken from the knot garden, as well as the architecture at Trerice. Some different processes have been used from the last project, including felting, French knots and pom poms. 

The original design, created by Sally

 

The design scaled up to full size



Winter project continued

The wall hanging is finished! After just over 4 months of work. 


The window was finished off with piping inside the grey material – it now has a certain wonky charm. 


The gables were picked out in brown wool, with lucetted cord for the details. The top windows are woven panels.


The whole thing was put onto blue wool background to make it easier to hang. Blue back lining for extra firmness and thickness, since it’s supposed to deaden sound in reception. It’s attached to the wall with a strip of Velcro at the top on the back and stick on velcro on a batten fixed to the wall. We wait to see if it’s still up next week or a mess on the floor! 

Winter project

At the end of the summer season last year the Costume Group was about making a tapestry for Reception to hang on the wall. Not having a lot of experience with tapestry we thought a wall hanging using various embroidery techniques hat we’ve learned over the last several years would be better. We came up with several ideas but thought to start with a design based on the Great Hall window, the plasterwork and the gables.

 

Once the pattern was drawn out to scale and transferred to the base cloth, we had a slight change of tack and used a lovely photograph of the Hall window taken by Barbara, the House Steward, as further inspiration for the window design. 

The border is made up from images in the plaster freize in the Hall, worked in various embroidery techniques, including stumpwork and freestyle blackwork. 

The faces are linked together by lucetted cord, often used in our costumes for ties and laces, to represent the ribbed pattern of the plasterwork on the Hall ceiling.

Other features of the plasterwork have been picked out with quilted sections and needlelace.  

Scraps from our material cupboard were used for the window panes, which started off as six abstract collage panels. It slowly came together by putting a large piece of navy blue net over the top, then black cord to make the panes. The window frame is made with pieces of grey wool material, with both right and wrong sides on display for the different textures. 

The next stage is to finish the gables and roof top, complete the border and then work out how to fix it to the wall! 

17 August 1646

370 years ago today the Royalist garrison at Pendennis Castle, led by John Arundell of Trerice, finally emerged after agreeing terms of surrender. They had held the castle for 5 months against the Parliamentarians and it was the last remaining Royalist castle in England. By mid August the garrison was depleted by famine, disease and desertion. 

John Arundell, sometimes known as ‘Jack for the King’, was born in November 1576 and was heading for his 70th birthday at the time of the siege. He was the son of John the rebuilder and grandson of Sir John who feature in the brasses which are the starting point for the costumes at Trerice.  Not long after the siege ended ‘Jack for the King’s’ wife and daughter, both called Mary, died from the deprivations suffered in the castle, and as a result of the family’s involvement in the siege and their loyal support of Charles I, their estate was sequestered and were fined £10,000.

The family were later rewarded for their loyalty to the Crown with a barony after the Restoration of Charles II, but John did not live to see this, so his son Richard became the first Lord Arundell of Trerice. 

Not long now

The first costume day of the summer holidays is fast approaching – only a few hours. We’re looking forward to helping visitors step back in history and tread in the footsteps of the 16th century Arundell family of Trerice by trying on something from our range of Tudor clothes. Fun for all the family and hopefully the weather will hold out nice.