There promises to be a lot more activity on Bookstains this year – and a lot of changes. It seems these days that everyone and their wives are doing poetry challenges, these days so I feel that it is time to close mine in order to retain some originality. I shall still be featuring poetry but it shall be in a completely different format. I’m way behind with my book and film reviews, but I have taken notes, so expect these to appear in the form of posts soon.
To kick off 2012, here is a post about costume. I was undecided at first about which blog to use for this post. Although ‘echostains’ is an art and design blog, the clothes featured were actually worn by actors in films (period drama’s which were sometimes derived from books).
The place these pictures were taken was the wonderful Medieval Barley Hall in York, UK. December 2011 saw us visiting one of our favorite places (York) for a few days before Christmas. The weather was at its most treacherous – blowing a gale with lashings of Yorkshire rain. However we managed to find a safe haven in The Barley Hall which was all set out for a Medieval Christmas.
We’ve visited York a lot, yet this was one building we have never been in. Although it has long been known that there was a medieval building in the Stonegate vicinity, the building wasn’t actually officially recorded as Medieval until 1980. When the site was sold for redevelopment, it then became clear that the extent of the medieval structure was substantial.
The oldest part of the reconstructed Barley Hall dates back to about 1360. The house was built as a townhouse of Nostell Priory, which is monastery in West Yorkshire. In 1430, a new wing was added and soon after, the Hall became the home of William Snawsell, a leading York citizen, who was a goldsmith, an Alderman and Lord Mayor of York.
The atmosphere of the hall is wonderful and it was especially enhanced by the Christmas decorations. Charming as the Hall is, we received an unexpected surprise when we ventured upstairs. An exhibition of Period Drama clothes awaited us – some of them instantly recognisable. I didn’t know which ones to examine first, I was so excited!
Lizzie and Darcy clothes from BBC Pride and Prejudice
What a joy to be able to scrutinise the actual clothes which Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth wore in Andrew Davies adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice BBC 1995! Lizzie’s jacket is the one worn in the scene where Darcy successfully proposes to her. Other Pride and Prejudice clothes featured in the exhibition are hats worn by the characters Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the haughty Miss Bingley.
From the Georgian era to the Late Edwardian era. Costumes from the gorgeous Downton Abbey, created and written by Julian Fellowes, which premiered on ITV, September 2010. The latest episode was shown the Christmas period 2011. The image below shows a dress worn by Dame Maggie Smith who plays The Rt Hon Violet, Countess of Grantham. Her costumes are built to reflect the style appropriate of her heyday (early Edwardian) rather than the younger fashions of the day. This is a stunning gown!
As worn by Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
I spent ages examining and swooning over these costumes. You are even allowed to try on a variety of hats from different periods (not the exhibition ones) The one I suited the most was from one one Henry V111 wives………
worn by Cate Blanchett in 'Elizabeth'
Another stunning dress, was the one worn by Cate Blanchett who starred in the 1998 film ‘Elizabeth‘ incidentally, the information about the dress states ;-
“The dress in this film were undoubtably influenced by the director Shekhar Kapur who was of Indian origin and who wanted to use fabrics which were light and flowed beautifully, very much refelecting the fabrics which were traditionally used for clothes in India.”
Not all the clothes are grand though… Dame Judy Dench and Julia Sawalla dresss from Larkrise to Candleford are quite modest. Unlike the ‘has to be actually seen to be believed’ Elizabeth Taylor’s dress form the film ‘Young Toscanini’
Elizabeth Taylor Young Toscanini 1988
Period drama women don’t have it all their own way though – the men are well represented in this exhibition.
Alan Rickman Judge Turpin Sweeney Todd
Tim Burton’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ 2007 (which starred Alan Rickman and Johnny Depp), features a pair of bloodstained trousers and an outfit worn by Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin with an explanation of how clothes are distressed for the bloody scenes.
bloodstained trousers from Sweeney Todd
Also featured are clothes from the 2010 film ‘The Kings Speech’, Keira Knightley’s ‘Duchess’ dress’ clothes from Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, Casanova, The TV series ‘The House of Elliot and much much more! Images cannot possibly do the clothes justice. I urge you to go if you’re in the area – and enjoy before the exhibition ends!
Thanks to York dig for providing the first image, and The Barley Hall for providing the black and white photo. All other photographs are my own.
The exhibition is open until March 2012 – please drop in if you are in the area. You will be well rewarded!
For lots more information please visit http://www.barleyhall.org.uk/
More info about Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd film costumes here
PS it’s Chaim Soutine’s Birthday!