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A Thousand Fancies at Berrington Hall – Guest Blogger Christina Fairley Erickson

October 10, 2014

Yesterday our tour group from the Whirlwind Tour with Gail Harker visited the fabulous Georgian manor – Berrington Hall. The house holds a collection of over 2200 items, including hand-crafted clothing from the 18th and early 19th centuries. The original collector, Charles Paget Wade, believed objects which represented the heights of ‘colour, design, and craftsmanship’ could ‘inspire a thousand fancies.’

Elaborate and ostentatious embellishment and style publicly declared the status of a Georgian gentleman or lady. Styles emerged to showcase elaborate stitch work, with hoops and bustles to increase the volume of extravagant fabrics. The sheen of silk embroidery, delicate beads and ‘spangles’ (sequins)’ as well as intricate gold and silver thread work would have sparkled in the courts’ candlelight.

After a fantastic curated ‘behind-the-scene’ tour of the collection, we visited the rest of the manor home and viewed an exhibit of costumes from the 1995 BBC production of ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ Mr Darcy seemed right at home! We then enjoyed lunch in their Edwardian Tea Room, before continuing to our next destination, the Hereford Museum Resource and Learning Centre.

Their collection of over 8000 textile items has been painstakingly catalogued and conserved. We learned that the farmers and laborers in the area wore intricately stitched smocks to protect their clothing and saw samples of the smocked garments. The whole system of conservation of the textiles was fascinating. It was a vault of treasures, none of us will soon forget.

Thank-you to Berrington Hall and the Hereford Museum Resource & Learning Centre for sharing their collections with us, and allowing us to post pictures of our day!


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Check out the Blog that features the fabulous collections at Berrington Hall and the Hereford Museum:  The Hidden Wordrobe



One Comment leave one →
  1. Deborah Hickey-Tiernan permalink
    October 10, 2014 3:45 pm

    Another glorious posting. Thank you.

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