Today was a lot quieter than Easter Monday, which was just as well, since I wasn’t the only one suffering from a cold among the volunteers. It was also raining for most of the day, but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. We had some lovely visitors stop by. Some even left a photo or two on the NT and NT Trerice Facebook sites which were lovely to see.
Hopefully the costume day at the end of the month will be a little less wet.
Now off to dig out the dancing shoes and hire a minstrel to practise for a school visit next week.
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.
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.
This is Sidney the Silverfish, newly created by Alan of the Costume Group, for the Conservation display in the Great Hall about the care of the collection. There’s a section on pests so hopefully he’ll fit right in.
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!
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!
Since the summer costume days ended the group has been cleaning and mending clothes. Some of the outfits have been completely remodelled, such as a red English gown which was covered in snags and frayed ends and looked rather a mess. Using material from another pair of red curtains, the old gown was used as pattern to make a new one. The lining and puffed sleeves have been reused in the new version too.
Our version of Tudor Tailor’s Mary Feilding which has been very popular has also shown signs of wear on the lining, which has become holey, and on the buttons. These have now been replaced and the garment has been given a new lease of life.
The front of the academic gown was looking very bobbly by the end of the summer. On closer inspection the front panels were inside out compared to the back and sleeves, so it was taken apart, turned around and rehemmed before putting it back together.
We discovered that ruffs can survive the washing machine. Some got quite grubby over the summer and after much debate on the best method of cleaning, it was decided to use a gentle wash with a lot of Vanish. We used some thin hair rollers to shape the ruffs as they dried, and don’t seem to have lost much of their stiffness.
In addition to repairs we have been making preparations for Halloween and revamping some of the Tudor banqueting costumes.
The original dress
The waist of the original dress was ridiculously high for a 1570s outfit so the material of the original dress has become a skirt, stomacher, paned sleeves and headdress, combined with a new gown from donated curtains.
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.