Join Hannah Marples, Historical Costume Interpreter for a discussion that delves into the portraits of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle and his second wife, Margaret Lucas, Duchess of Newcastle on show in The Portland Collection, and looks more closely at the fabrics and stitches of 17th century fashion.

Hannah’s knowledge goes beyond the surface structure of the costume, as she strips back the layers and reveals the hidden meanings of every stitch and thread used in 17th century fashion.

A lot of the early 17th century costumes were very lavish, heavily embroidered, decorated, pained, lavish silks and things. But this [Sir William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1636-7] is a more subtle, expensive… he didn’t need to show his wealth – he already had it.

[…]

[Margaret Lucas was] often credited for having the most outrageous clothing. She often designed her own clothes, Samuel Pepys said how he looked forward to having her at court because she was a spectacle. People liked to look at her – she was a trend setter.

Hannah has made historical costumes for film, TV and museums which include The National Civil War Museum and Leeds Royal Armouries. She has appeared in the BBC4 television series A Stitch in Time. Visit her website to find out more about her practice.

This talk took place on 18/12/2020.

Book references

Arnold, J., Tiramani, J., & Levey, S. M. (2008). Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c. 1540-1660. London: Macmillan.

Hayward, M., 2020. Stuart Style. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press.

Reynolds, A. (2013). In Fine Style: the art of Tudor and Stuart fashion. London: Royal Collection Trust.

Tiramani, J., Davis, R., Robins, P., & North, S. (2011). Seventeenth-century women’s dress patterns; Book 1. London: V & A Pub.

Tiramani, J., Davis, R., Robins, P., & North, S. (2013). Seventeenth-century women’s dress patterns; Book 2. London: V & A Pub.

Waugh, N., n.d. The Cut Of Women’s Clothes, 1600-1930.

Waugh, N., n.d. The Cut Of Men’s Clothes, 1600-1900.