Seeking the Pimpernel

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Last autumn we were asked to participate in an 18th century event at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum. it was a fairly generic do, the first of many more to come hopefully, as the place is steeped in history and boasts not only lovely interiors but also rather spectacular gadens. I agreed to provide a few dresses for the display, and, accompanied by my hubby,  to interract with the public.

 The dresses to go on display were  3 items from 1770-85: a robe anglaise, a polonaise and a riding habit. I had a nice francaise too, but it got sold and now lives with a lovely lady in Paris!

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The robe francaise – here at a wedding photoshoot, so excuse the modern hairdo!

 The other frocks:

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Polonaise en fourreau in silk brocade, petticoat in silk taffeta

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robe anglaise worn at one of the markets

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riding habit, here at Audley End House

All that meant that I needed something new to wear…

 And since Lucas agreed to entertain the visitors with tales of his daring deeds  as Scarlet Pimpernel, I became Lady Margueritte Blackney – and the lady needed a travelling outfit suitable for autumnal temperatures and comfortable to wear.

 It was an easy choice –  I have always loved the simple elegance of the redingotes and the one in LACMA has been on my to do list for ages.

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the original…

And since it just happened that a suitable fabric was living in my closet for a while, I set to it – I had 2 days to make the redingote and the muslin petticoat, and two days to get my Scarlet Pimpernel a waistcoat and a coat suitable for his role.

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set and ready to go!

On the day,  it was rather brisk – so the travelling outfits were a blessing – even though we were inside.  The rest of the team was getting ready; we were joined by lovely Julia Gant and her team from the  4and20blackbirds and  Eleanor from  The Guild of Historical Interpreters.

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the team!

  The event was lovely – not crowded, but with lots of interesting people popping by for a chat – and it was a real pleasure to  discuss history,its military,  social and costuming issues. The contrast between our 1790 outfits and the earlier focks on display provided a valued starting point to a discussion to all the social changes the French Revolution brought about. so a very interesting day!

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 In the meantime Eleanor was  showing the kids how to decorate fans – and I also had a go at cutting out silhuettes:-).

  Scarlet Pimpernel was not as elusive as he is supposed to be ( though he did suggest  that the best way to re-enact him would be not to turn up at all so that we  send the folks looking for him…)

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Lucas having problems being elusive…

 The lunch was a rather yummy affair, beautifully presented and  tasted as well as it looked!

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Altogheter, a great day’s fun, informative and entartaining! and of course, rather pleased with the way the redingote turned out 0 i did  amend the front slightly later on, but happy with the first attempt!

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