Wednesday, 15 April 2009

dressed to kill

I am still the Queen of Grumps even tho it is a lovely day, sunny, breezy, freedom of the parish................Booo.
At the Mansion they had an " Out of the Box" day where the curator [famous daughter of famous friend] took some of the nineteenth century clothes they have in storage and waved them in the sunshine for a while.
As usual the museum doesn't have the resources, or the will, to keep a textile collection accessible, so this was a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to a heavily embroidered and beaded afternoon dress made about 150 years ago. Should cheer a girl up, - not really.

This is the boned [whale] and corded top. Dresses were made as separates then, brushed never washed.
But the linen or cotton underclothes were fresh each day [if you could afford the staff].
Linen is preferable it seems it soaks up the sweat best.
This is the corset worn over the linen and under the jacket. It is structured with a phalanx of whale bones and stitched cords and tied with non-authentic purple ribbons. Apparently most women would not pull them so tight they fainted, for every day wear anyway. Good - historic women were not hysteric, as a rule.

This a dress to go walking in. it is black and white striped, exquisite pleating and construction, a heavy black underskirt, many layered at the bottom, like the top skirt so it would swirl and whirl above your boots. But plain, all the detail and attention in this part of the century would be on the bosom, in earlier years it was on bustled and complicated skirts.

Curator woman was asked why more textiles weren't on show, and gave the usual excuses; but she said she had tried putting on a display of 70s clothes [of which they had few] recently and the local burghers had complained that they weren't appropriate to the august surroundings.
In the entrance hall they had some replica clothes from various eras and visitors were invited to try them on and have a prance.

Very sweet.

More people turned up than the curator expected [she comes from New Zealand but they must have Easter holidays there too, children that need outings, parents that need diversions for children..............] there were not enough chairs.

The kids were surprisingly patient standing in clumps round the wall as she talked about the clothes [ the old people like me had nabbed the available chairs early]. Surprising, the media will have us believe kids have a thirty second concentration span and that's only if they are plugged into virtual reality. maybe it was a select group as their elders had already successfully manoeuvred them into a museum.

My two compatriots were presumably in a better mood than me, not a comfortable position for any of us, but maybe they didn't notice.

Who can tell, they both communicate from behind a mask of reserve. K is so polite she would say thank you to her murderer and clean up any spillage.

A keeps herself under very tight control and peers disapprovingly over her high fence topped with a measured array of broken glass.

And moi. I am just a bad tempered, sulky old cow who doesn't deserve friends.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Loverly costumes. We are still in sync, I was extremely bad-tempered this day too.