Eleanor through the ages

Image

 A slightly different post –  mostly to honour one of my most loyal customers – or, to be precise, a customer who, though the years of stitching, fittings, events etc, has became a very close friend. Eleanor now has a rather full wardrobe of Prior Attrie outfits, from medieval to Victorian –  and  I am going to present some of them below.

 The first contact was made through Ebay – Eleanor wanted to purchase one of the frocks i was selling – but needed it shorter..

Image

the houppelande on offer…

Shortening the gown was no problem, so we met at one of the markets and I have sorted it on the spot.. and that’s how it started… that is also how I met Ian from Black Knight Historical – but this i think will be another post… 🙂

Image

the gown on Eleanor, as Margaret Paston here

 12th century

 A gown fit for a queen – clothes for Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine

kirtle in silk, dress in silk with ornamental borders, veil and wimple

Image

 13th century 

 middle / lower class kirtle and dress in wool

Image and another early 13th frock, here at the fitting – wool with embroidery

Image

14th century

 a surcoat in cloth of gold – another queenly garment…

Image

 and a bit more modest, a nun’s outfit – 13-14th century

Image

15th century

 most of the work here was either kirtles for the camp or burgundian gowns – i have made 3… some of them below…

Image

at Tewkesbury

Image

Image

Tewkesbury Abbey

16th Century

 here we started with an upper-middle class merchant’s wife..

Image

at kelmarsh

 a bit posher…

Image

at Blickling Hall, with a silk kirtle

and a silk velvet gown, for Peterborough cathedral

Image  An  early Elizabethan outfit – loose gown over a silk kirtle ( the same kirtle as above btw – it is reversible, plain gold on one side, brocade on the other….., coif and a cap

Image

  17th century 

 alas, nothing as yet…. i think…

 18th century

 a pair of brocaded stays, silk petticoat and brocade jacket. event blog here

Imageclose up of the jacket…

Image

 19th century

 Regency – a gown in silk – here as a Mrs. Bennett, with me as her daughter – more details of the event here

Image

 Victorian

 a schoolmistress/egyptologist just a jacket by me. my first ever Victorian item too!

Image

 was a 1883 suit for my wedding – Eleanor was my Matron of Honour:-)

Image

then the mourning gown – work at Holkham ( blog  here)

Image

1885 mourning gown

 and a 1884 evening gown, also worn for our Spectacular Ball

Image

 I even did a Halloween corset and skirt for Eleanor – here worn for our Steampunk dinner at Coombe Abbey last autumn – not a best photo but we were too busy eating and having fun – so it is almost the only one I think…

Image

  and for the time being – that’s it! Many thanks to Eleanor for being a perfect client and a perfect friend – hope you enjoyed the journey too!

Victorian Christmas at Holkham Hall

Image

 For the last two years we were lucky enough to be working at Holkham Hall during their spectacular Christmas events – again organized by  Black Knight Historical .  The venue, located on Norfolk coast, nearby a lovely beach is simply stupendous – indeed it has been used in a few film productions ( The Duchess was, I believe, one of the most recent ones). The Coke family still lives there and it is a real privilage to be able to work in such lavish environment – our favoirite room was the  South Dining Room.

Image

The room set up for Christmas dinner.

 In the 2011 we spent a weekend  there – and since it was just a few months after our Victorian Wedding, we assumed roles of a newly wed couple on their visiting round. Our task was to interact with the visitors, chatting about  Victorian wedding customs, fashions and dances. We were also scheduled to do a short public talk about Victorian dances and do a Vienesse waltz demonstration.

 

Image

the Christmas tree in the upper hall

There were lots of interesting things happening around the venue: the kitchens were busy preparing festive food ( lovely stuff by  4and20 Blackbirds), and at noon Her Majesty Queen Victoria ( eve from  Live’n History ) arrived in style.

Image

 

 The Queen had a good look around the Hall, and then sat down to tea – and to spend some time chatting with the children.

Image

Her Majesty, Eleanor as the MIstress of the Robes and two brave girls asking for a position at court no doubt!

 

Altogether two very busy days, in great company and fantastic surroundings. So when we were approached to participate in the 2012 event, for two weekends, we did not hesitate!

 One thing was clear – I needed more frocks! My wedding gown, worn already on several occassions  needed a rest – and I now had a perfect excuse to make some new  Victorian  outfits!  I have decided to wear my 1885 Riding habit on one day, and make a warm 1877 polonaise and a walking dress for the other days.

 The polonaise was based on a fashion plate from Harpers Bazar and I made once before – for one of my bridesmaids. this time i wanted to make one in wool, with decorative border.

Image

1877 promenade dress in wool

 the other outfit was also based on a fashion plate from the same book.

Image

autumn costume,1883

 This time the whole of the house was open and the decor was absolutely amazing. the rooms were transformed – and one corridor was made into a lovely winter’s paradise, complete with moving animals!

Image

the wintery paradise

Image

close up

 There was a different Christmas tree in every room – my favourite was the one made from the antlers shed by the stags from the local deer park.

Image

unusual tree!

 

 A different room was set up for the feast, all being prepared by a  an army of servants in the kitchen, and the laying of the table supervised by a dashing butler.

Image

the maids

Image

 The yard and the museum were alive with entertainment, Victorian market, photographers carriage rides and storytellers – a little paradice for the kids! Inside the little ones could visit  The Green Man ( the Victorian Santa!). The entrance was guarded – we all felt extra safe with sucha  sentinel!

Image

 Each room had different interpreters entertaining the public. Lucas, Eleanor and I were in the South Dining room; my role was to talk about the secret language of the fan, Victorian ettiquette, manners and customs. What we did talk about ranged from fans to railways, toys manutacture, corsetry and post cards – absolutely everything, so we had an extremely interesting time – and we talked to  over a couple of thousands people each weekend!

Image

antique fans at the ready!

 altogheter an action packed  4 days were had – and we did enjoy wearing our new frocks! Here’s Eleanor, resplended in silk taffeta

Image

Eleanor in her new mouring gown, 1885

  and my promenade dress, which turned out very christmassy and very cosy! – more pictures here

Image

1877 polonaise

 Am very happy at how wellthe welking outfit turned out – called now The grape dress due to the pattern and the colour of the silks. again, more pictures on my page, here.

Image

the grape dress

  and , just a few silly pictures of what was happening after hours…

Image

some were naughty and needed a bit of discipline

Image

the boys being up to no good no doubt

Image

corsets? what corsets, all I need is a bit of exercise to keep my waist trim! as if…

 

   And the good news is – we are back for the Victorian Christmas 2013!!!!