The needle is always at hand evaluation


Project synopsis


Between the 13th of June and the 20th of August 2011. The needle is always at hand exhibition was based at Keats house in Hampstead, London. The exhibition, which I designed for the house, it’s first, was created as part of my work based project for my AMA. The exhibition consisted of six dress-based pieces spread around the house and reflecting aspects of Fanny Brawne’s life based on her letters and John Keats letters and poems. Created and funded by myself with support from Keats House.


In most projects I have worked on I have been commissioned to make replicas of historical costumes, based on original garments or secondary sources. For this project I planned to work with costume in a different way, creating and using costume to aid visitors in navigating the space and exploring the narratives contained within the space. Unlike the “dress up” costumes I have created in the past, I planned to show more than just what dress was like at this time. I curated objects to be handled and explored, offering different levels of interpretive access. My aim was to develop my curation skills focusing on using objects to change the interpretation of the space.


Feedback from a questioner given to visitors to the exhibition suggested they found the exhibition enhanced their visit to Keats House (100%) that it gave them a better understanding of regency dress (100%) life in Keats house at this time (100%) Fanny Brawne’s life (99%) and her relationship with John Keats (99%) key feedback from visitors included more explanations or interpretation, more pieces and better lighting.


Visitors was also asked what topics they would like to see covered in future exhibitions common responses were more regency dress, more about John Keats and more workshops and demonstrations, this feedback was consider when structuring the outline of The Fashion Of John Keats Life and Death.


Silk letters

Silk letters, from John Keats to Fanny Brawne


About lholmes4keats

I have worked with Museums across the UK for the last ten years making costumes for exhibitions on everything from The Titanic to Tyrannosaurs. I have Run workshops and lectures on costume both nationally and internationally, my work has featured in exhibitions, films and theatre productions both nationally and internationally. In 2011 I curated The Needle is always at hand, an exhibition of dress based on Fanny Brawne's life while she lived at Keats House.
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