“Costumes of Downton Abbey” Exhibit Comes to Winterthur

by Adrienne Tooley

If you’re like everybody else on the planet, you’ve been anxiously awaiting Downton Abbey’s season 4, which premieres on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater January 5, 2014. (Or maybe you’ve already downloaded it from someone in the UK and binged watched it, in which case, no spoilers, please!) It’s extraordinarily easy to get wrapped up in all of the drama of this award-winning period piece, and more than once I’ve found myself longing to be a part of the era, and, specifically, the owner of all the lovely clothes the Crawley sisters have worn.

While owning such lovely pieces is out of the question for a broke, modern gal, now there’s finally the opportunity to view those gorgeous costumes in person, at Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Gallery, & Library from March 1, 2014 to January 4, 2015. Opening a few weeks after the eight episode season 4 ends, their “Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit features 40 costumes and accessories worn on the critically and popularly acclaimed show, along with items belonging to Winterthur founder Henry Francis du Pont. 

“The exhibition will be organized chronologically and visitors will move through the times of day, both upstairs and downstairs. Visitors will enter past a working recreation of the bell system of Downton Abbey. Servants’ uniforms and livery are contrasted with elegant tweeds, sumptuous tea gowns, and elaborate evening clothes,” the press release states.

“Among the highlights will be Lady Sybil’s harem pants, Lady Mary’s engagement dress, and Lady Edith’s wedding dress. The servants’ call system, H. F. du Pont’s Saville Row evening jacket, and the du Pont family’s 1874 Tiffany silver tea service will also be on exhibit. Winterthur will host a wide range of lectures, workshops, and events, including programs for adults and families focusing on entertaining and country house life in Britain and the United States.”

It’s sure to be both an educational and an exciting exhibit, and perhaps a trip to Winterthur will be enough to quell the mounting anticipation for the recently confirmed season 5, at least for the time being.

Tickets for the exhibit are $18 adults; $16 for students and seniors; $5 for ages 2–11, valid for two consecutive days. Museum hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday – Sunday. Visit the Winterthur website for more information.

Thanks to Winterthur

Image courtesy of Winterthur

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