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The Regency Wardrobe collection - research & production - Work begins

Last Wednesday I heard I'd been awarded an Arts Council grant. After a year of preparation and proposals and a few very tense few weeks waiting, I have the say so to begin. Thanks is also due to The Textile Society who have awarded me a Professional development award related to the project and to Great Art who are sponsoring the project with materials.

I'm raring to go, to build on the reading I've been doing and the notes I've been making and to actually start designing and making the pieces that will form The Regency Collection and yet I will just pause here for a moment because, before I delve more deeply into the world of Regency fashion & paper craft, I feel it incumbent on me to talk dates. That is, to clarify the period I will be referring to throughout my work as Artist in Residence at The Regency Town House, Brighton & Hove. The Regency Town House itself was built in the late 1820's as part of The Brunswick Town estate. It is now being developed as a museum and Heritage Centre with a focus on the architecture and social history of Brighton & Hove between the 1780s and 1840s.

The period known as The Formal Regency lasted in fact only from 1811 - 1820. However the title The Regency Era is often applied to the longer period from 1795 to 1837 and includes therefore the latter part of the reign of George III, the reigns of the Prince Regent after he had become George IV and the resign of William IV also. That is, it lasts up until the start of the Reign of Queen Victoria when the Victorian era began.

George III, who's mental health collapsed after 1811, lived on until 1820. His son the Prince Regent, George, already a prominent figure at court, acted as Regent for the last nine years of the King's decline in health, then reigned himself from 1820-1830 when he died. It is due to the extent of the influence of the Georgian Prince Regent that the longer period is talked of as the Regency fashion era.

Of course references to cultural style during the early 19th Century is referred to differently depending on which country is being referred to:

  • Regency (England, 1811-1820)

  • Federal (United States, 1785-1815)

  • Napoleonic (France, 1799-1815)

In terms of the fashion and indeed the larger political shifts of that time, French, American and Eastern influences are important. I'll be creating The Regency Collection on and off site at TRTH between December 2018 - April 2020. Parts of it will then be exhibited at Chertsey Museum, itself a Regency Town House, and Worthing Museum. In designing the collection I'll focus my research around fashion from 1795 - 1837 whilst also making references to historical dress either side of this period in terms of how Regency fashion was influenced and developed.

- October 2018

An aside - please note the above post was written in late 2018 The Regency Collection was originally planned to be exhibited in The Regency Town House in May 2020; marking the two hundredth anniversary of the end of the Formal Regency. Covid-19 changed everything! During 2020 the collection grew larger still and the research that already linked it to Firle Place came to the fore. The Regency Wardrobe collection will now be exhibited throughout the house at Firle Place August 29th-October

26th 2021

- April 2021


This project is being supported by:

Arts Council England, The Textile Society and Great Art

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