For the last two years we were lucky enough to be working at Holkham Hall during their spectacular Christmas events – again organized by Black Knight Historical . The venue, located on Norfolk coast, nearby a lovely beach is simply stupendous – indeed it has been used in a few film productions ( The Duchess was, I believe, one of the most recent ones). The Coke family still lives there and it is a real privilage to be able to work in such lavish environment – our favoirite room was the South Dining Room.
The room set up for Christmas dinner.
In the 2011 we spent a weekend there – and since it was just a few months after our Victorian Wedding, we assumed roles of a newly wed couple on their visiting round. Our task was to interact with the visitors, chatting about Victorian wedding customs, fashions and dances. We were also scheduled to do a short public talk about Victorian dances and do a Vienesse waltz demonstration.
the Christmas tree in the upper hall
There were lots of interesting things happening around the venue: the kitchens were busy preparing festive food ( lovely stuff by 4and20 Blackbirds), and at noon Her Majesty Queen Victoria ( eve from Live’n History ) arrived in style.
The Queen had a good look around the Hall, and then sat down to tea – and to spend some time chatting with the children.
Her Majesty, Eleanor as the MIstress of the Robes and two brave girls asking for a position at court no doubt!
Altogether two very busy days, in great company and fantastic surroundings. So when we were approached to participate in the 2012 event, for two weekends, we did not hesitate!
One thing was clear – I needed more frocks! My wedding gown, worn already on several occassions needed a rest – and I now had a perfect excuse to make some new Victorian outfits! I have decided to wear my 1885 Riding habit on one day, and make a warm 1877 polonaise and a walking dress for the other days.
The polonaise was based on a fashion plate from Harpers Bazar and I made once before – for one of my bridesmaids. this time i wanted to make one in wool, with decorative border.
1877 promenade dress in wool
the other outfit was also based on a fashion plate from the same book.
This time the whole of the house was open and the decor was absolutely amazing. the rooms were transformed – and one corridor was made into a lovely winter’s paradise, complete with moving animals!
the wintery paradise
There was a different Christmas tree in every room – my favourite was the one made from the antlers shed by the stags from the local deer park.
A different room was set up for the feast, all being prepared by a an army of servants in the kitchen, and the laying of the table supervised by a dashing butler.
The yard and the museum were alive with entertainment, Victorian market, photographers carriage rides and storytellers – a little paradice for the kids! Inside the little ones could visit The Green Man ( the Victorian Santa!). The entrance was guarded – we all felt extra safe with sucha sentinel!
Each room had different interpreters entertaining the public. Lucas, Eleanor and I were in the South Dining room; my role was to talk about the secret language of the fan, Victorian ettiquette, manners and customs. What we did talk about ranged from fans to railways, toys manutacture, corsetry and post cards – absolutely everything, so we had an extremely interesting time – and we talked to over a couple of thousands people each weekend!
antique fans at the ready!
altogheter an action packed 4 days were had – and we did enjoy wearing our new frocks! Here’s Eleanor, resplended in silk taffeta
Eleanor in her new mouring gown, 1885
and my promenade dress, which turned out very christmassy and very cosy! – more pictures here
Am very happy at how wellthe welking outfit turned out – called now The grape dress due to the pattern and the colour of the silks. again, more pictures on my page, here.
the grape dress
and , just a few silly pictures of what was happening after hours…
some were naughty and needed a bit of discipline
the boys being up to no good no doubt
corsets? what corsets, all I need is a bit of exercise to keep my waist trim! as if…
And the good news is – we are back for the Victorian Christmas 2013!!!!