Seeking the Pimpernel


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!


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

 The other frocks:


Polonaise en fourreau in silk brocade, petticoat in silk taffeta


robe anglaise worn at one of the markets


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.


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.


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.


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!


 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…)


Lucas having problems being elusive…

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


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!