I read in the media today that, with the forthcoming release of two new films inspired by Bronte novels, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, that this was the year of the Brontes and Jane Austen ought to move over for her time in the limelight was over. Indeed? Well, someone should have told museum curators that, because I can report that yet another exhibition that concentrates on fashion in Jane Austen’s era has been commissioned and it opened yesterday at Fairfax House Museum in York. It will run until the 31st December.
Entitled Revolutionary Fashion, the clothes on show,some from the famed Olive Matthews Collection at the Chertsey Museum, demonstrate how fashion changed dramatically for both sexes during this era. For women, wide hooped skirts were no longer an option (save for court dress) and the slender columnar silhouette with a high waist became the order of the day. For men change was equally dramatic, with the adoption of simple, well-tailored clothes, in predominantly dark colours, a departure from the embroidered silks of all colours worn during the first three-quarters of the 18th century.
Go here to read a description of the exhibition on the museum’s most excellent blog. I do like the fact that the clothes are not only on show in the museum’s exhibition space,but are also to be seen in context, on display within its beautiful rooms. The cost of the exhibition is included in the normal admission price.
I may be able to see it: sadly, on my day in York a couple of weeks ago the museum was closed, and this exhibit had not yet opened. But in the meantime here is a link to a six-minute long video of a tour of the the exhibition ,produced by the Yorkshire Post newspaper, which I know will only partially satisfy you, but I afraid it is the best I can do at the moment.
I do hope you enjoy it, and I think you might agree with me that the time is not yet ripe for Jane Austen to move out of the limelight, no indeed.