Tudors at Thropton WI

With Ann at Thropton WI

With Ann at Thropton WI


Earlier this week we presented our Tudor Talk with costume display for Thropton WI. Thropton is a very pretty village in Northumberland which is next to the picturesque town of Rothbury.

We were located in the newly refurbished Thropton memorial Hall – a lovely venue with perfect facilities for our talk- a large stage, a spacious hall and plenty of changing rooms.

The ladies really enjoyed our talk and sent the feedback below

“Thank you (ably assisted by Mick and Jamie) for making our July meeting a memorable evening. We have had positive feedback in abundance!
All the best for your next project. We look forward to hearing about it in the future”.

The ladies also had quite a few interesting questions – 

What is one of the differences between the making of film, theatre and TV costumes?

In my opinion one of the main differences is that theatre costumes aren’t usually seen close up so they don’t need to be so detailed – for example embroidery on a stomacher for Queen Elizabeth I could be artfully glued with jewels and gold paint could be sprayed on to give an impression of embroidery as the first row of the audience in a traditional theatre is usually quite a distance away. In a TV production or film the embroidery needs to be more realistic as the dress can be seen in more detail- intimacy is gained through camera angles and close ups. I noticed in the recent TV series “The White Queen” starring Max Irons that the actress playing Elizabeth Woodville had a zip at the back of her dress- not a good look considering the first zips were invented hundreds of years later! 

The White Queen TV Drama

The White Queen TV Drama

Re-enactment Costumes are different again – they need to be accurate close up – right down to the type of thread used to sew the seams – no polyester/cotton thread – it must be pure cotton! This type of costume is not the type I would wear as re-enacters are not allowed to use make up or modern hair straighteners  – which wouldn’t suit me!

Do I visit exhibitions of extant costumes?

Of course I do – I love seeing any type of costumes.  I recently visited two costume exhibitions while on holiday in Harrogate. I visited Normanby Hall- a beautiful 300 acre estate set in the heart of North Lincolnshire. Normanby Hall’s costume gallery featured the exhibition ‘Victorian Vogue’.

I have included photographs of the display and more information on my website – to read more just click the link above..

It took items from Normanby’s extensive costume collection to document changes in fashion from the 1840’s to 1890’s.

I also visited a fabulous new Costume Exhibition at York Castle Museum called ‘Shaping the Body’. An iron corset, crotch-less pantaloons from the time of Jane Austen, bum rolls and a killer dress are a few of the items that featured in this major new exhibition which charts the way fashion, food and fitness have shaped the body over the last 400 years. I am currently designing an 18th century Sacque Dress for my new talk Marie Antoinette and Fashion.

A 1775 Dress at York Castle Museum

A 1775 Dress at York Castle Museum

There is a wonderful extant 1775 Sacque dress on display complete with a set of panniers (boned hooped underskirt).   It was wonderful to see an actual dress of the period similar to the pink silk Marie Antoinette gown I am currently making for my new talk.  The display gave an invaluable insight into the fabric, construction and design of the period!

My Pink Silk Marie Antoinette Gown

My Pink Silk Marie Antoinette Gown

What did Tudor women wear under their underskirts?

Ladies of the 16th century wore nothing under their skirts as nothing was deemed essential, necessary or had even been thought of at that time.

In her book ‘Knickers, An Intimate Appraisal’, Rosemary Hawthorne records that before 1789 and the French Revolution that long skirts, a petticoat or two, a corset and linen chemise were the only forms of underwear women thought were desirable. As a result, women began covering their lower regions simply because it was warmer to wear some undergarments in the cool north European climate.

During the Regency era women began wearing pantalets. Pantalets originated in France in the early 19th century, and quickly spread to Britain and America. They were thought to have been based on men’s trousers. Pantalets were tubes of fabric which were not sewn together which they tied around the waist.

At Thropton WI

At Thropton WI

Is the Henry VIII clothing comfortable to wear?

I have asked my husband this question today and he gave this reply

“It is a fairly comfortable costume to wear and not particularly restrictive”.  There is no boning in this costume just some padding in the sleeves and body of the gold doublet. There is also copious padding  in the top of the sleeves of the outer robe – Tudor gentlemen liked to both emulate and flatter their their stout monarch by adding padding to their clothing.

“The costume does to seem to become heavier after being worn for about an hour” Today we are not used to wearing such heavy clothing on a day to day basis – we usually dress for comfort the exception being a formal event like a Wedding , ladies may wear a boned corset to change their shape and gentleman a stiff high necked shirt.

Mick as King Henry VIII

Mick as King Henry VIII

“The costume can make you feel very hot during a costume event particularly when worn in the summer months.” The Henry VIII costume becomes hot and uncomfortable quite quickly. There are at least four layers of clothing on the torso alone – the shirt, the padded doublet, the  jerkin and finally the very heavy robe of velvet, trimmed with fur and lined with satin. I have read that the climate in the Tudor period was on average quite a lot colder than it is today, during James I’s reign the Thames froze completely, people skated and had fairs on it!

 “The shoes are very comfortable”  They have been commissioned from Pilgrim Shoes. They are designed in soft black leather slashed with gold silk puffs. They were made to measure for a very reasonable price. In fact my husband had to stand on a piece of paper and draw round both feet- the papers were sent to Pilgrim shoes and the shoes that were sent are very comfortable. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

http://www.pilgrimshoes.co.uk/

Finally he said “The tights/hosen do feel awkward at times” I suppose as my husband is used to wearing modern trousers every day tights would feel rather odd to a gentleman!

Talk at Thropton

Talk at Thropton

 

Did I present a display of costumes at Belsay Hall?

Yes – I have presented two large displays of my Tudor Costumes for English Heritage at Belsay Hall in Northumberland  – other venues for my displays have included Raby Castle, The Royal Armouries in Leeds , Lauriston Castle and Kedleston Hall.

I also presented nine- yes nine! Tudor Fashion Shows over a bank holiday weekend at Belsay Hall.  It was very hard work but my team and I really enjoyed it!

Costume Display at Belsay Hall

Costume Display at Belsay Hall

 

Do we present talks to mixed groups – ladies and gentlemen?

We do indeed present talks to mixed groups of Ladies and Gentleman.  Not only women are interested in history and costume!

Admittedly we present the majority of our talks to ladies groups however have presented a large number of events to the general public including The Royal Armouries in Leeds, Belsay Hall and Kedleston Hall.  We also presents events for the U3A (University of the Third Age) and there are usually an even mix of ladies and gentlemen . For our Regency Talk at the Army and Navy Club in London to commemorate to bicentenary of the Battle of-Waterloo there were no ladies present at all and the gentleman said they really enjoyed it!

Costume Display at Raby Castle

Costume Display at Raby Castle

Where do I source my fabrics?

I use a large amount fabric mainly silk for my costumes. I used to buy James Hare Silk which is amazing however this has become very expensive – I need at least 10 yards for a Tudor Gown which can cost quite a lot.  So I now buy my silk from India for a much more reasonable price- the only problem is that it isn’t very wide – only 44 inches.  I am currently making a Marie Antoinette Gown that required 16 yards of pure silk brocade and managed to buy it from a fabric retailer based  in India for a very reasonable price!    http://www.puresilks.us/

If anyone would like a list of my suppliers I for fabric or haberdashery I would be happy to email them a copy.

Thropton WI

Thropton WI

 

We really enjoyed presenting our talk for Thropton and hope to see them again in the future – thank you Ann for all your help and hospitality!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post – if you have leave a comment – thank you

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