“There is a French sleeve worn that would be very becoming to you”

“There is a French sleeve worn that would be very becoming to you”

Dress – Kitchen

On the table in the kitchen in Keats part of the house

Fanny made items of dress for herself but also had items made by dressmakers. This recently delivered dress shows a set of sleeves that Fanny suggested to Keats sister for her new dress in a letter from 1822

“There is a French sleeve worn that would be very becoming to you”

The rest of the dress is based on a design from 1827 – 9

This piece was not in the original plan and only developed when I looked round the house again to take pictures of the spaces I wanted to use.

I decided it would be good to do something in the basement and to base it around the more practical side of garments, I originally looking at the process of washing garments.

This was the last garment I completed and it went through many stages, changes and tests from being part of a garment in water or wrapped round a mangle to a whole dress suspended from the ceiling which acted as a frame which you look through to see pictures.

The idea of a dress being delivered from the dressmaker came together in the last week before the exhibition and the idea of the brown paper and string came from the kits in the bonnet workshop, unwrapping a parcel wrapped in string and brown paper has positive cogitations associated with the noise and texture. Staff reported that visitors regularly “unwrapped” the dress.

Feedback from the visitor questionnaires showed the dress to be the third most handled item (jointly with the Chemisette)

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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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