Early Modern Dress in Your Hands

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: History

Abstract

There is an international fascination with clothing and fashion. This is, in part, because clothing brings the past closer. It seems both familiar - we can imagine ourselves wearing these garments - and exotic - how could someone have possibly managed to wear such odd and uncomfortable clothing? But dress and textiles are fragile objects that require specialist display facilities; historic fabrics cannot be shown and handled with ease. Remaining behind glass, items that the public most want to touch, try on and experience, can seem removed from all but the most expert of visitors. Paradoxically, the materials that offer one of the most accessible routes to an understanding of our shared past are amongst the most difficult to access.

The aim of this project is to break down these barriers and create a stimulating experience of Early Modern dress for a range of different audiences, an experience that is firmly rooted in AHRC-funded research. It will take the new knowledge that was developed between 2007 and 2009 through the AHRC Early Modern Dress and Textiles network and animate the understanding of Early Modern Fashion at the V&A. Over a 12 month period, the V&A's curatorial and learning staff and their collaborators will reach a broad audience through two in-depth, museum-based targeted projects: creating new resources for secondary school teachers and designing and delivering a performance project with a community group. These will be supplemented by additional online resources for a general audience, including a professionally produced film that will provide insights into how clothing was perceived from a literary as well as historical point of view. The entire project will be book-ended by evaluation workshops with key partners to ensure that the broader UK museum community can benefit from our learning.

Planned Impact

At the V&A, each major gallery project aims to cater for particular audiences. The new Europe 1600-1815 galleries have concentrated on families, students (from both the creative industries and cultural history), and independent adult learners including European visitors. Focus group work with different audiences (adults, students, families) was undertaken in 2010 to inform the development of the V&A's Europe 1600-1800 Gallery. This research demonstrated that potential visitors saw this important period in European history purely as a time of religious turmoil, warfare and plague, citing only the French Revolution as a key event. There was little understanding of the social changes, creativity and innovation that took place over those two centuries across the European continent. The materials that will be developed to translate the AHRC network findings into tangible experiences will challenge this simplified view of the past and offer a very different way of thinking about our European heritage. In developing this proposal we have worked closely with our key stakeholders who know their different audience requirements well: the Victoria & Albert Museum and their Learning Department, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) Arts Team, Theatre Complicite and the School of Historical Dress, established by Jenny Tiramani. This has allowed us to develop a range of targeted resources and experiences to reach two very specific groups with whom our partners will work directly (school children and adults who form part of the V&A's social inclusion programme) as well as a broader audience who will have access to our film and digital materials. As our letters of support indicate, we have worked closely with the relevant schools and local authorities in designing this programme and the evaluation that will be undertaken is designed to assess the success of the different approaches in making a difference to these very different groups. This will allow the V&A and its partners to extend its provision of advice and examples of good practice to other museums and galleries whose curators and educators want to make their collections of dress and textiles more accessible to similar audiences.

The long-term impact of these projects will be in the evaluation of the interventions and the dissemination of the findings to other museums and galleries who are exploring how to bring objects that are behind glass and the complex ideas that are so often associated with these materials to a wider audience in ways that are manageable, sustainable and exciting. We would expect to measure the success of these interventions both qualitatively and quantitatively, including metrics on YouTube viewings of the John Donne elegy film (and the associated comments) and 'click-throughs' to the more detailed materials that will be available on the V&A website associated with the Europe, 1600-1800 and Fashion galleries. All schools who visit are asked to complete an evaluation form and a profiling report is produced annually, tracking attendance and level of satisfaction with the quality of the service. TES also ask for feedback from teachers who download any resources from their website and will be providing information to us on V&A downloads. We would also track return visits on the part of schools.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Carnival Journeys - A new public performance 
Description Rasheeda Nalumoso (V&A) with in partnership with Complicite Lead Practitioners, Synergy theatre Apprentice and Nottinghill Carnival Practioners, undertook to recruit 15 participants to take part in a performance called 'Carnival Journeys - A new public performance', which explored the origins of Commedia and Carnival, taking inspiration from the Ommegang painting hanging in the V&A's new European Galleries. The Ommegang painting is one of six paintings that record a huge procession in Brussels in 1615. Known as the Ommegang or 'walk around', it was an annual event honouring a statue of the Virgin Mary that was kept in one of the important churches in Brussels (Our Lady of the Sablon). The rehearsals for the performance took place in Kensal Rise Community Centre. The participants were looking to create a twenty minute promenade performance, inspired by the traditions of Carnival that recreated a riot of colour, noise and masquerade. It formed part of the Afropean Narratives 1600-2016, celebrating the V&A's new European Galleries 1600-1815. It was a night of music, spoken-word, talks, gallery tours and hands-on workshops held at the V&A on the evening of Friday 15 July, which was open to a public audience. The performance of Carnival Journeys was held at 18.30 in the John Madejski Garden. Family and friends of the mainly masked performers as well as interested spectators watched a short act which included dance, music and the spoken word and it explored not only themes of carnival but more contemporary aspects of free movement of people, which was particularly topical given the recent 'Brexit' vote. Several of the performers are considered 'vulnerable adults' and requested not be filmed or photographed, so a recording of the performance was not possible, but still some still photographs were allowed by other participants. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Carnival Journeys took the theme of migration and inter-culturalism. The production was intended to encourage visitors to explore the New European Galleries and highlighted both the migration of Africans and the rights of black people during the early modern period. By exploring terms such as 'Afropean' and 'Afrofuturism' the audience were encouraged to consider African narratives and experiences as citizens of Europe both today and in the future. 
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/
 
Title The Dolls Project: Archduke and Archduchess Albrecht and Isabella 
Description Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands project commissioned the School of Historical Dress to create two half-human scale mannequins or fashion dolls in accurate seventeenth-century costume. The intention is that the dolls will be used by the V&A Learning and Education department as a way of bringing period dress to a wider audience. Unlike surviving portraits that only provide a two dimensional view of clothing or extant items of period costume or even extant seventeenth-century dolls (for example, Lord and Lady Clapham already in the V&A's collection), which are normally too fragile to be handled by the public, work groups will be able to touch and feel the dolls and to dress and undress them. This hands-on experience will assist participants to a new understanding into how clothing was constructed and put together in the seventeenth century. The dolls themselves were modelled on the historically accurate figures of Archduchess Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566-1633) ruler of the Spanish Netherlands and her husband Albert VII, Archduke of Austria (1559-1621). The dolls and their clothing were modelled on costumes worn by the Archduchess and Archduke in contemporary portraits. The choice of these characters was inspired by the Ommegang painting, which hangs in the V&A's new European Galleries. The Ommegang painting is one of six paintings that record a huge procession in Brussels in 1615. Known as the Ommegang or 'walk around', it was an annual event honouring a statue of the Virgin Mary that was kept in one of the important churches in Brussels (Our Lady of the Sablon). The Ommegang of 1615, which forms part of the V&A's collection, specifically paid homage to Archduchess Isabel. In keeping with strictly authentic methods the dolls themselves are hand-made from turned lime wood by Rachel Frost of Crafty Beggars. Rachel was also commissioned to make Albert's hand-felted hat, while wigs for their hair was created by Mark Wheeler from the Costume Society and Charles Fox of Covent Garden. Other material for the dolls' costumes was obtained from specialist suppliers. For example: Le Lievre of Paris provided the velvet for Isabel's gown; Gaggioli (Genoa, Italy) supplied velvet for Albert's trunk hose; Hopkins of Kentish Town, London for cloth of silver; and Anita Pavani for linen for the doll's shirts and smocks. The doll's costume was made by a team of associates from the School of Historical Dress led by the School's principal Jenny Tiramani and vice-principal Harriet Barsby. Again, only strictly authentic methods of pattern-cutting and sewing were used, to ensure that the dolls reflected as accurately as possible contemporary seventeenth-century methods. Alice Gordon (a former pupil at the School of Historical Dress) was responsible for the linen ruffs for the doll's wrists and collars, while Debbie Watson created Isabel's clothes. The major part of the Archduke Albert's clothing was made by the Parisian tailor, Sebastian Passot, who also created the Spanish farthingale that goes under Archduchess Isabel's gown. The dolls are now in use by the V&A Education and Learning Department and have proved very popular with both school parties and adult workshops. Jennifer Sturrock (V&A Education and Learning) created a handbook giving guidance as to how the dolls can be used in workshops. She was assisted by teachers from Langley Sixth Form Academy, Slough who provided guidance for incorporating the dolls' workshops into national curriculum guidelines. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The dolls were originally produced to create engagement with key stage 4 to keystage 5 high school students. They are now also being used by university students and by vulnerable adults. They were employed in creative quarter, an annual event run by the V&A to encourage students into higher education. The feedback has been excellent. The learning resources associated with the dolls have been an important part of putting early modern dress and its complexities into the hands of users. We are now tracking the downloads and will be able to report back next year on further impact since the project concluded in January 2017. 
 
Title The John Donne Film: On His Mistress Going to Bed 
Description The John Donne Film One of the most successful aspects of the Early Modern Dress and Textile research network (2007-9) had been the final performance at the V&A of an enactment of John Donne's complex poem, To His Mistress Going to Bed. This went on to inspire a booklet entitled, Late Shift; The Elizabethans Undressed created by the Jenny Tiramani (School of Historical Dress - SHD) which was produced in response to the National Portrait Gallery's 2013 exhibition The Elizabethans Undressed. The follow-on funding enabled us to reimagine the performance and capture it in film which explores Elizabethan clothing through John Donne's poem 'Elegy 19 To His Mistress Going to Bed.' The version of the poem used in the film was written during the Elizabethan period and was included in the anthology The Harmony of Muses, compiled by Robert Chamberlain in 1654. The production including costume fitting, rehearsals and the actual filming took place on December 16, 2016, at Sands Film Studios and is currently being edited by Olivier Stockman (Sands Films) and Jenny Tiramani (SHD). Sands Films is an independent film production facility with some specialization in historical productions (see: http://www.sandsfilms.co.uk). The two performers who enacted the poem are Colin Hurley (RSC, National Theatre & Shakespeare's Globe) and Michelle Luther (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama). Scenes of the poem's re-enactment are interspersed with 'laboratory scenes', which show Jenny Tiramani (SHD) and her colleague Harriet Barsby (SHD) dressed in white laboratory style coats, and analysing certain items of clothing that are mentioned in the poem. This analysis is aided by still images showing similar items still extant in a variety of museums and collections. Still images were collected from amongst other institutions: St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Victoria &Albert Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, the Ashmolean Museum & St Wenceslas Churck, Mikulov, Czech Republic. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The film is in the final stages of production and editing, but when completed it is intended that it will be available for public access from the V&A website, King's College, London, and the School of Historical Dress. It is designed to be both a stand-alone and a prompt piece that will enable historians: literary, economic and dress, to all use it to discuss issues of how clothing functioned in the early modern period. 
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands is a follow-on funding project from the original AHRC-funded Early Modern Dress and Textiles network (2007-2009): http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/. The network discovered that: 1. Hands-on investigation of material culture within the museum setting provided alternative ways of understanding social, economic and political history. While these needed to be carefully framed alongside archival and visual evidence, looking at lace, gloves, doublets, etc. offered a different way of accessing the past than was usually available through traditional historical methods. 2. Re-enactment and attempts to reconstruct original objects was a valuable way of understanding skills in the past, particularly those (such as laundry, starching, haircare, etc.) which might be less accessible through the written record. 3. Theatrical engagement, such as reviewing how a play or poem would have been originally experienced in the early modern period, brought these two aspects of early modern dress and textiles together in new and unusual ways. The network could only provide this experience to a relatively small number of staff and students. Despite the clear evidence of how popular exploring fashion is among the museum visitor community, it is still difficult to scale up hands-on access to fragile items of dress. The follow-on funding project was designed to experiment with three different ways of giving an experience of early modern dress and textiles to a wider audience through a collaboration with the V&A's learning department and the School of Historical Dress. This was undertaken within the context of gaining a wider understanding of the period that made up the V&A's new Europe, 1500-1815 galleries. The follow-on funding project demonstrated that the creation of dolls wearing accurately and carefully produced reproduction dress was an excellent way of engaging a wide-range of museum visitors, not only with issues of fashion but also with different ways of discussing the early modern period. Students studying A-level design and textiles, visitors with disabilities and those suffering from memory problems such as dementia have now all successfully experimented with using the dolls as prompts for broader discussions. Thus the dolls have been used at 'Creative Quarter', an event run by the V&A for schools (attended by over 250 students); the Early Onset Dementia Group (attended by 10 vulnerable adults); and a Create Futures course for young people not in employment, education or training (10 attendees). The community engagement project, which brought disadvantaged local community members together to respond to carnival dress was also successful but could not be sustained in the same way as the dolls project. Finally, the film produced as part of the project will be a very long-term resource and is only now being assessed in terms of its impact through the School of Historical Dress.
Exploitation Route We have created a resource pack for use by students, teachers and other educators or interpreters who want to use the Dolls project for their own purposes. This is available in hard copy and as a downloadable digital resource. We held a workshop to disseminate our conclusions which was attended by museum professionals from Europe (Madrid and Copenhagen) as well as in the UK to ensure that our findings are taken up on an international level.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/
 
Description The workshops involved students from the London College of Fashion and the Langley Academy school, the School of Historical Dress and the Learning department of the V&A museum. Feedback has been excellent, demonstrating that gaining an understanding of the smaller, less obvious details of early modern dress gave a new understanding of period dress, which they felt it was impossible to get by simply looking at a picture or portrait. Jenny Bley, a teacher from the Langley Academy gave her ideas about how the dolls could be used as a teaching resource. The students from the Langley Academy who had attended the first workshop had enjoyed learning about the different natural dyes used in fabric production in the early modern period and found it very engaging to handle different fabrics, and get a feel for them in their hands. Based on this work, the dolls were designed in ways to ensure that school groups and others will be able to handle, dress and undress the dolls to give them an idea of how clothing was taken on and off and put together in the early modern period.
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award
Amount £870,000 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Department Wellcome Trust Bloomsbury Centre
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2021
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands: Langley School partnership 
Organisation Langley Academy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provided the original underpinning research that emerged from the original AHRC network grant and supported the follow-on funding engagement with the V&A and the School of Historical Dress. We are also supporting the evaluation of the resulting impact of the follow-on funding project.
Collaborator Contribution The Langley Academy, which is based in Slough, has Museum Learning as its speciality. It stresses that that, 'curiosity, exploration and discover' is embedded in the curriculum offer.' http://www.langleyacademy.org/documents/frontpage/2016/The%20Langley%20Academy%20Our%20Vision.pdf Staff and students at The Langley Academy joined the mannequin/dolls project at its inception to help design the resulting dolls and learning materials, ensuring that we co-created outcomes that were meaningful to A-level students studying, for example, textiles. They did so in collaboration with students at the London College of Fashion, bridging gaps between high school and university modes of learning. We worked closely with two teachers, Ms Beth Brock and Ms Jenny Blay to test out our ideas about working with A-level students and to ensure that we were producing materials that would be appropriate for A-level sstudy.
Impact 1. Two Mannequins/Dolls 2. Printed and downloadable materials for schoolteachers designed to support Schools' engagement in the Europe, 1600-1815 galleries at the V&A
Start Year 2016
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands: School of Historical Dress Partnership 
Organisation The School of Historical Dress
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We established the original research network, bringing together members who went on to form the School for Historical Dress, academics and museum professionals. We supported the relationship between the V&A and the School of Historical Dress and ensured the dissemination of the findings and are now undertaking the evaluation of the impact of the work that was produced.
Collaborator Contribution The School for Historical Dress is a private enterprise founded by Jenny Tiramani, a member of the original Early Modern Dress and Textiles netowrk. The School's aim is to promote the study of historical dress, including that of non-Western cultures, by using primary evidence, in particular surviving clothing and textiles. Written and visual sources support this work. The School works with a wide range of publics to encourage new research into historical dress and introduces students to the tools needed for this, such as how to study an object, to identify its materials, cut, construction and historical context. Various historical methods of pattern drafting, construction and decorative techniques are taught on our courses, often by the creation of samplers and toiles, and crucially the students are taught how to fit historical garments on a person. The School both produced the mannequins that made up the core of the Schools project and scripted, directed and produced the John Donne film.
Impact 2 Mannequins 1 Film
Start Year 2016
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands: V&A Partnership 
Organisation Langley Academy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Professor Evelyn Welch at King's College, London worked in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum's (V&A) Learning Department and the School of Historical Dress to bring together the members of the first AHRC funded project Early Modern Dress & Textiles to ensure that the benefits of the original network could be shared with an even wider and more diverse audience.
Collaborator Contribution In a joint initiative between King's College, London and the project's associated partners, Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands created a new, stimulating experience of early modern dress for a range of different audiences. The project used the learning and understanding that resulted from the 2007-2009 networks to animate the understanding of early modern fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The Museum's curatorial and learning staff and the School of Historical Dress undertook two in-depth, museum based- projects. Firstly they commissioned two half-size mannequins, which were dressed in replica costumes from the early modern period, as seen in the painting the Brussels Ommegang, located in the new European Galleries of the V&A. The production techniques used to create the dolls and their costumes were studied by a diverse range of students from Langley Academy and the London College of Fashion at three in-house workshops. The V&A Learning department also designed and delivered a performance project with a higher-education community group. The School of Historic Dress has undertaken to make a short film based on the poem by John Donne, To His Mistress Going to Bed. The film will be available free-to view on the King's College, V&A and the School of Historic Dress' websites.
Impact Three in-house workshops were held at the V&A on 22/03/2016, 25/04/2016. Also, as part of the V&A's Afropean Narratives 1600-2066 there was a short performance of Carnival Journeys held in the Museum's John Madjeski Garden. Initial costumes, fitting and filming for the John Donne film took place on 16/12/2016 and it is expected that the final version will be available for an initial preview on 16/02/2017. (Further details of these outcomes are reported in the relevant section)
Start Year 2016
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands: V&A Partnership 
Organisation The School of Historical Dress
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Professor Evelyn Welch at King's College, London worked in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum's (V&A) Learning Department and the School of Historical Dress to bring together the members of the first AHRC funded project Early Modern Dress & Textiles to ensure that the benefits of the original network could be shared with an even wider and more diverse audience.
Collaborator Contribution In a joint initiative between King's College, London and the project's associated partners, Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands created a new, stimulating experience of early modern dress for a range of different audiences. The project used the learning and understanding that resulted from the 2007-2009 networks to animate the understanding of early modern fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The Museum's curatorial and learning staff and the School of Historical Dress undertook two in-depth, museum based- projects. Firstly they commissioned two half-size mannequins, which were dressed in replica costumes from the early modern period, as seen in the painting the Brussels Ommegang, located in the new European Galleries of the V&A. The production techniques used to create the dolls and their costumes were studied by a diverse range of students from Langley Academy and the London College of Fashion at three in-house workshops. The V&A Learning department also designed and delivered a performance project with a higher-education community group. The School of Historic Dress has undertaken to make a short film based on the poem by John Donne, To His Mistress Going to Bed. The film will be available free-to view on the King's College, V&A and the School of Historic Dress' websites.
Impact Three in-house workshops were held at the V&A on 22/03/2016, 25/04/2016. Also, as part of the V&A's Afropean Narratives 1600-2066 there was a short performance of Carnival Journeys held in the Museum's John Madjeski Garden. Initial costumes, fitting and filming for the John Donne film took place on 16/12/2016 and it is expected that the final version will be available for an initial preview on 16/02/2017. (Further details of these outcomes are reported in the relevant section)
Start Year 2016
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands: V&A Partnership 
Organisation University of the Arts London
Department LCF London College of Fashion
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Professor Evelyn Welch at King's College, London worked in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum's (V&A) Learning Department and the School of Historical Dress to bring together the members of the first AHRC funded project Early Modern Dress & Textiles to ensure that the benefits of the original network could be shared with an even wider and more diverse audience.
Collaborator Contribution In a joint initiative between King's College, London and the project's associated partners, Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands created a new, stimulating experience of early modern dress for a range of different audiences. The project used the learning and understanding that resulted from the 2007-2009 networks to animate the understanding of early modern fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The Museum's curatorial and learning staff and the School of Historical Dress undertook two in-depth, museum based- projects. Firstly they commissioned two half-size mannequins, which were dressed in replica costumes from the early modern period, as seen in the painting the Brussels Ommegang, located in the new European Galleries of the V&A. The production techniques used to create the dolls and their costumes were studied by a diverse range of students from Langley Academy and the London College of Fashion at three in-house workshops. The V&A Learning department also designed and delivered a performance project with a higher-education community group. The School of Historic Dress has undertaken to make a short film based on the poem by John Donne, To His Mistress Going to Bed. The film will be available free-to view on the King's College, V&A and the School of Historic Dress' websites.
Impact Three in-house workshops were held at the V&A on 22/03/2016, 25/04/2016. Also, as part of the V&A's Afropean Narratives 1600-2066 there was a short performance of Carnival Journeys held in the Museum's John Madjeski Garden. Initial costumes, fitting and filming for the John Donne film took place on 16/12/2016 and it is expected that the final version will be available for an initial preview on 16/02/2017. (Further details of these outcomes are reported in the relevant section)
Start Year 2016
 
Description Early Modern Dress in Your Hands: V&A Partnership 
Organisation Victoria and Albert Museum
Department Research Department
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Professor Evelyn Welch at King's College, London worked in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum's (V&A) Learning Department and the School of Historical Dress to bring together the members of the first AHRC funded project Early Modern Dress & Textiles to ensure that the benefits of the original network could be shared with an even wider and more diverse audience.
Collaborator Contribution In a joint initiative between King's College, London and the project's associated partners, Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands created a new, stimulating experience of early modern dress for a range of different audiences. The project used the learning and understanding that resulted from the 2007-2009 networks to animate the understanding of early modern fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The Museum's curatorial and learning staff and the School of Historical Dress undertook two in-depth, museum based- projects. Firstly they commissioned two half-size mannequins, which were dressed in replica costumes from the early modern period, as seen in the painting the Brussels Ommegang, located in the new European Galleries of the V&A. The production techniques used to create the dolls and their costumes were studied by a diverse range of students from Langley Academy and the London College of Fashion at three in-house workshops. The V&A Learning department also designed and delivered a performance project with a higher-education community group. The School of Historic Dress has undertaken to make a short film based on the poem by John Donne, To His Mistress Going to Bed. The film will be available free-to view on the King's College, V&A and the School of Historic Dress' websites.
Impact Three in-house workshops were held at the V&A on 22/03/2016, 25/04/2016. Also, as part of the V&A's Afropean Narratives 1600-2066 there was a short performance of Carnival Journeys held in the Museum's John Madjeski Garden. Initial costumes, fitting and filming for the John Donne film took place on 16/12/2016 and it is expected that the final version will be available for an initial preview on 16/02/2017. (Further details of these outcomes are reported in the relevant section)
Start Year 2016
 
Description Early Modern Dress & Textiles Workshop 2 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The second workshop in the series was held at the V&A Schools and Learning Department on Monday 25 April, 2016. The workshop was entitled Pattern Cutting and Construction. It was led by led by Jenny Tiramani and Harriet Barsby (SHD) and attended by five MA students (Claire Jago, Esme Loughrey, Kathleen Nellis, Veronica Toppino and Corinne Brothers) from the London College of Fashion (LCF) who had been at the previous workshop. The focus of the workshop was to understand what had influenced the students' interests in early modern dress, (particularly any objects, materials or ideas from the previous workshop) and to introduce them to the methodology of seventeenth-century tailoring, pattern cutting and the original techniques used to make a ruff.
The morning session focused on tailoring. In her introduction Jenny Tiramani (SHD) explained several pattern drawing and cutting techniques: the differences between a static shape on paper-pattern; understanding how a pattern changed when it was made into a garments and worn on the human body; the importance of geometry/proportion; and the concept of the golden mean and how it was used for pattern construction in the seventeenth century. To illustrate the subject Jenny Tiramani (SHD) explained how masculine tailoring and pattern cutting in the early modern period developed in parallel with the intricate components of plate armour. This development was specifically marked in Spain where tailors made close-fitting linen garments designed to be worn under armour, and which needed to be close fitting and formed to the body. Other weapons were also taken into consideration, for example, the design of a man's coat or over garments needed to be able to accommodate the sword belt and sword.
To help with their understanding of pattern cutting in the early modern period the students viewed an original copy of Libro de geometria, pratica, y traca, a seventeenth-century Spanish tailor's pattern book, held by the National Library of Art (V&A). Jenny Tiramani (SHD) had also brought several velum measuring tapes to demonstrate how men were measured for clothing in the early modern period - the expression 'the measure of a man' came from his velum measuring tape.
The LCF students were also taken to view the Ommegang painting and Sarah Campbell (V&A Learning & Education) gave a short talk to demonstrate how the painting was explained to school parties when they came to the museum. Returning to the workshop studio Jenny Tiramani (SHD) took the LCF students via the V&A's sculpture gallery to explain some of the clothing that can be seen on the monumental sculptures.
The afternoon session was divided into two sections. Firstly a skype video conference had been arranged with Sebastian Passot, the Parisian tailor commissioned to make the costume for the male mannequin of Archduke Albert (see Artworks). The LCF students were able to question Sebastian on his first pattern drafts and fabric being used for the doll's costume.
During the second half of the afternoon the workshop concentrated on ruffs and their influence in both seventeenth-century and modern tailoring. This was an area that was identified as being of specific interest to the LCF students from feedback from the first workshop. Via an AV link Jenny introduced the LCF students to the work of Syrian emigre, Nabil el Nayal who is a linen specialist and modern ruff maker (and former student at the SHD). The students viewed a short film showcasing Nabil's designs, before Alice Gordon (the Tudor Group) joined the workshop to demonstrate how she makes reproduction ruffs for Tudor costumes. Alice is a former student at SHD and was commissioned to make the collar and wrist ruffs for the two mannequins. She demonstrated to the students how ruffs are made by pinning the linen to a small pillow, generally held on the lap or at a low table.
Feedback from the LCF students regarding the workshop was very positive. Specifically a 'Pinterest' group for Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands has been created to encourage LCF students to share their ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/
 
Description Final Dissemination and Evaluation workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Early Modern Dress & Textiles 'In Your Hands', end-of-project dissemination and evaluation conference
Date: 24/02/2017
Location: The River Room, King's College, London
Participants:
KCL: Professor Evelyn Welch, Dr Juliet Claxton, Dr Hannah Murphy, Dr Natasha Awais-Dean, Jola Pellumbi, Guilia Mari
School of Historical Dress: Jenny Tirimani, Harriet Barsby
V&A: Professor Lesley Miller, Professor Bill Sherman, Cara Williams, Jennifer Sturrock, Dr Ana Cabrera (Marie-Curie postdoctoral research fellow, Madrid), Dawn Hoskin.
London College of Fashion: Veronica Toppino, Esme Loughrey
Langley Academy School: Jenny Blay, Beth Brock, Emily Jacobs, Liliana Carri
Original Early Modern Dress & Textiles Network members: Professor Maria Hayward (University of Southampton), Dr Elizabeth Currie (Independent Scholar), Dr Lisa Monnas, (Independent Scholar), Professor Catherine Richardson (University of Kent), Professor Ulinka Rublack (University of Cambridge), Dr Barbara Furlotti (Courtauld Institute), Kirsten Toftegaard, (Design Museum Denmark)

On Friday 24 February 2017 the Early Modern Dress & Textiles 'In Your Hands' project held an half-day, end-of-project event designed to disseminate findings and support our project evaluation in the River Room, King's College, London. The afternoon was designed to both present the materials produced by the follow-on funding to the original AHRC-funded research participants and to hear the evaluative feedback from the schools and museum participants who engaged in the follow-on funding project. It concluded by examining how appropriate the various methods (film, mannequins, community project) would be for other museums, particularly at an international level.

The workshop was opened by Professor Evelyn Welch, followed by a short talk by Jenny Tiramani (SHD) on the dolls themselves, their production and their costumes. This was followed by two talks from representatives from the V&A Education & Learning (Jennifer Sturrock and Cara Williams) who outlined how the dolls are being used by the museum. Since their launch in September the dolls have been used three times: firstly at 'Creative Quarter', an event run by the V&A for schools (attended by over 250 students); the Early Onset Dementia Group (attended by 10 vulnerable adults); and a Create Futures course for young people not in employment, education or training (10 attendees). Although the dolls were originally intended for use with self-guided schools groups they have proved a successful addition to taught sessions and events and there are emerging plans for the future deployment.

Jenny Tiramani and Harriet Barsby (SHD) then introduced the John Donne film, followed by a screening of the film itself, which is in the final stages of production. A final panel discussion chaired by Professor Bill Sherman, with Professor Evelyn Welch and Professor Lesley Miller analysed the project's findings. The discussion concluded that the V&A mannequin/dolls project was the most transferable of the three methods of reaching new audiences and changing their understanding of the early modern period and its historical challenges.

The conference closed with a short book launch for Fashioning the Early Modern: Dress, Textiles, and Innovation in Europe 1500-1800 OUP, 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/
 
Description Workshop 1 (Blythe House, V&A) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact On Tuesday 22 March the first 'Early Modern Dress and Textiles in Your Hands' workshop was held at Blythe House (V&A). Entitled 'Historical Context and Materials', the workshop's aim was to give an overview of the project to the students from the collaborating institutions. Nine participants from King's College, the V&A, and the School of Historical Dress (SHD) addressed an invited audience of five MA students from the London College of Fashion (LCF) and 19 pupils and staff from Langley Academy Sixth Form, Slough (Langley Academy is the only sixth form academy in the UK that integrates museum learning into the curriculum).
Lesley Miller (V&A) gave a short introduction to the original 'Early Modern Dress & Textiles' network and outlined the purpose and resources being used by the follow-on project, 'Early Modern Dress & Textiles in Your Hands'. The project's introduction was followed by a talk from Jenny Tiramani (SHD) who explained the manufacture and intended use of the half-size mannequin dolls in period costume, which have been commissioned by the project. It is intended that the dolls will become a learning tool for workshops and school events at the V&A Learning & Education Department. Jenny Tiramani (SHD) explained why the dolls were being accurately modelled on the historical figures of Archduchess Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566-1633) ruler of the Spanish Netherlands and her husband Albert VII, Archduke of Austria (1559-1621). The dolls and their clothing are being modelled on costumes worn by the Archduchess and Archduke in contemporary seventeenth-century portraits. Other project references to seventeenth-century costumes are inspired by the Ommegang painting, which hangs in the V&A's new European Galleries. The Ommegang painting is one of six paintings that record a huge procession in Brussels in 1615. Known as the Ommegang or 'walk around', it was an annual event honouring a statue of the Virgin Mary that was kept in one of the important churches in Brussels (Our Lady of the Sablon). The Ommegang of 1615, which forms part of the V&A's collection, specifically paid homage to Archduchess Isabel.
An overview of the painting's context was the subject of a power-point presentation by Liz Miller (V&A). She explained the tradition of dressing mannequins in Europe, and she gave the specific example of the 'Mannekin Pis' (a famous fountain in Brussels of little boy urinating that is featured in the Ommegang painting), which has become an international symbol of Brussels, and dressing the statue is an established Brussels tradition. The Brussels City Museum even has a gallery dedicated to the costumes that have been donated to the Mannekin Pis.
On the subject of the Ommegang painting itself, firstly Liz Millar (V&A) explained the location of the painting and the complications involved when the painting needed to be re-hung in the new galleries (it took a total of eight strong men to hang it). The students were then given a more detailed explanation of the painting itself. They were shown the pictures of the church of Our Lady of the Sablon, Brussels where the painting was originally hung, and highlighted details from the picture itself. By focusing on individual sections within the painting the students could understand both the identity of the different floats in the procession, (Isabel and her ladies, Diana and her nymphs, Apollo and the Muses, the Tree of Jesse, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the shepherds, the Ship of State) and the central story of the painting. Liz Millar (V&A) also explained that a crossbow-shooting contest was held before the Ommegang as part of the celebrations and in 1615. The Archduchess Isabel who was renowned as an excellent markswoman, won the crossbow-shooting contest and was named Queen of the Guild of Crossbowmen for life.
Following on from this presentation, Jenny Tiramani (SHD) gave a more detailed explanation of the modern mannequin dolls that were currently being made, (see relevant section, 'Art Works') and with Susan North (V&A) jointly presented and explained some original objects and items of early modern period dress that are in the V&A collections and in the private collection of the School of Historical Dress. These included: two eighteenth-century mannequin dolls; a seventeenth-century glove and cloak; an original, lace ruff and a modern replica ruff; and Sir Roland Cotton's seventeenth-century doublet and breeches. The objects were laid out on tables, and while the students were inspecting them Jenny Tiramani (SHD) explained their fabric, cut, construction and context. The fragile state of many of these items, however, meant students were able to inspect them very closely using the magnifying glasses provided, but not to handle them directly.
In the afternoon two separate sessions concentrated on early modern materials and fibres: animal products such as wool and silk; plant fibres, for example linen and cotton; plain as opposed to complex weaving patterns; applied decoration on fabric; interwoven metal threads (gold/silver); and the differences between fibre and weave. To allow for a more interactive and hands-on approach the students were divided into two groups. Jenny Tiramani (SHD) led the LCF students' seminar and her colleague Harriet Barsby (SHD) worked with the Langley Academy students. Representatives from King's College (Juliet Claxton) and the V&A (Jennifer Sturrock) observed the proceedings. The students had the opportunity to created individual fabric sample books. Jenny and Harriet provided small, square examples of both the raw materials and the finished fabrics, and explained the processes used to create the end product. Some facts about material came as a surprise to the students; for example, it's surprisingly easy to unravel a silk cocoon. Jenny Tiramani (SHD) and Harriet Barsby (SHD) also described to the students how the separate fabrics were traditionally used in dress construction. They explained that a fabric's name is often related to its intended use - the word linen for example, relates to 'lining', reflecting the fabric's original purpose. It is intended that the LCF students would use these sample books to inspire and inform their MA projects.
Feedback from both the LCF and Langley Academy students was excellent. They were very interested in some of the smaller, less obvious details of early modern dress, and they expressed a new understanding of period dress, which they felt it was impossible to get by simply looking at a picture or portrait. All students agreed that being able to touch and feel fabric gave them a very different perspective than simply looking at it, even when aided by a magnifying glass. The Langley students were particularly fascinated by how clothing fitted together with pins and laces, meaning the subject could not dress or undress by themselves. Given how stiff and formal women's attire appears in seventeenth-century portraits, the students were also curious to know how women actually sat down in this period. They were surprised at the flexible nature of the seventeenth-century bodice and farthingale. Particular interest was also expressed in the mannequins' dresses and the manufacture of ruffs in the early modern period.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/
 
Description Workshop 3 Hand Over of the Mannequins 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact On June 20, 2016 a final, half-day workshop was held in the Clore Study Area (V&A) when the completed half-size dolls were handed over to the V&A Learning & Education department. Three MA Students from LCF and two teachers from Langley Academy joined project members from the V&A, King's College and the School of Historical Dress to view the dolls and discuss their intended use within the museum's learning department.
The first speaker, Sarah Campbell (V&A Learning & Education) gave a short talk about the potential opportunities for the dolls as an educational resource. Specifically, she stressed the importance of the doll's historical accuracy. It is intended that school groups will be able to handle, dress and undress the dolls to give them an idea of how clothing was taken on and off and put together in the early modern period. This is particularly important for understanding period dress as surviving items of clothing from the seventeenth century are usually too fragile to be handled by focus groups and remain the preserve of academics and museum curators.
The dolls, scaled at half-human size were on display to the invited audience in the Clore Study Area and Jenny Tiramani (SHD) demonstrated how they could be dressed and undressed, and highlighted some of the detailing of their clothes. For the male doll (Archduke Albert) she was especially pleased with the miniature buttons, which had been hand-made by Sebastian Passot, and Archduke Albert's interior, leather pocket, which unlike a cloth one would not fray. The gown for the model of the Archduchess Isabel has detachable Spanish sleeves, and small spangles hanging from the rebato or ruff support. By un-pinning the model's gown she revealed the crimson-silk, Spanish farthingale worn underneath the dress. Jenny explained how it was frequently the case that the richer fabrics were reserved for the inside of a garment.
After Jenny's introduction to the dolls, the three MA students from LCF (Veronica Turppino, Corrine Brothers and Esme Loughrey) made short power-point presentations demonstrating how the dolls and the project's workshops had influenced their postgraduate studies. Veronica Turppino was interested in how light and colour allowed performers within the Ommegang painting to adapt their character. She had also been particularly keen to know more about pattern cutting, which was demonstrated in the second workshop, and how artisans worked to produce as little waste as possible. Esme Loughrey's presentation concentrated on the interchangeable nature of early modern clothing, again with an emphasis on how cloth was recycled with the aim of zero waste in the early modern period. Other notable influences on their work were natural dyes and ruffs. Corinne Brothers had been fascinated by two elements of the Ommegang painting: the influence of news and art, and the colour red and the use of red cochineal dye. Corrine brought these two elements together to use re-cycled sheets of newsprint to create ruffs set on a red-dyed base.
The final presentation by Jenny Bley, a teacher from the Langley Academy gave her ideas about how the dolls could be used as a teaching resource. The students from the Langley Academy who had attended the first workshop had enjoyed learning about the different natural dyes used in fabric production in the early modern period and found it very engaging to handle different fabrics, and get a feel for them in their hands.
Feedback about the project from Langley teachers emphasised that the dolls were an extremely valuable resource and would be incorporated into their teaching curriculum. Costumes from this period are often only seen from a two dimensional perspective, either within a painting or from behind glass and both the LCF and Langley students were in agreement that being able to touch, feel and even smell the different fabrics gave them a very different insight into the function and purpose of early modern materials and clothing. They agreed that this sensory experience made them aware of many new and different features for both modern and period dress.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/earlymoderndress/