I have had a few busy months, but I did manage a much-needed long weekend break in Bath last month, with the main intention of visiting the Fashion Museum.
Both these small museums don’t get the visitor numbers that the better known locations do, but are well worth taking a little time out to see them if you’re in Bath.
This was two hours of bliss. Selecting my favourites to show you has been difficult, but I’ve chosen time periods I’m interested in for my novels current and future…
And shoes do feature in my image selection.
As lighting is low and items are behind glass to control the temperature to protect the fabrics from deteriorating, I have needed to add light to my images, and you may notice the occasional reflection. I wanted to limit how much adjustment I needed to make, but the ones reflecting the red chairs will take some work. I really didn’t think it was polite to move them just for one photo, so you won’t be seeing that one!
My absolute favourite dress was this striped silk Robe à l’anglaise from the 1770’s.
Actually I have to admit to favouring the dresses of the 1770’s. They must have looked amazing when they were first worn; the wearer making their way around a ballroom with the candlelight reflecting off mirrors and windows bringing the colour to life.
The early costumes displayed a more practical element, less glamour than those late 18th century gowns. They also show how styles could change over a decade, with open and closed robe dresses revealing, then concealing a warm petticoat.
There was an interesting quilted petticoat from the 1740’s on display with an open robe. The information card suggested it could be Scottish, and perhaps an indicator of sympathy to the Jacobite cause. The stitched thistle design is not immediately obvious until you look closer…
You can just see the dress this petticoat was displayed with to the right in the above group photo…
There were a few shoes within the costume areas, but further on a couple of display cabinets held a variety of shoes and boots.
There were a few delightful items of menswear included, waistcoats, jackets, suits, and an early pair of trousers from the 1820’s.
Accessories were not forgotten. There was a display of Bone, Coral, Ivory and Turtle items, that ranged from fans to hair combs and other pieces. It was highlighting the less pleasant aspect of trade in species from around the world during the 18th and 19th century.
Today these species are protected, but in the 1800’s there was a big trade in these new materials, and the resources were probably looked on as unlimited, though a few hundred years later we’re aware of how much damage this led to…
So that’s just a few items. The exhibition is worth visiting, as whatever decade or century you’re interested in, you’ll find something to admire and be fascinated by.
When you finish the fashion display downstairs in the Assembly Rooms, you can go back upstairs and view the settings those beautiful dresses and suits could have graced in past times…
Carol will be putting a few images from the exhibition on her next blog post too. So do take the time to visit.