Christmas at Holkham


Yes, it was this time again. just like previous 3 years ( post here  and here), we were working at the stunning Holkham Hall. 2 weekends full of lovely singing from the Upper Octave, bell ringing,chatting with visitors and marvelling at the house. The house was decorated lavishly – as always. This year it was birds that were the inspiration behind the decor:-)

but have a look for yourselves… 🙂


the table in the kitchens…




everything polished to a high lustre….



staff resting after a hard day’s work – from Black Knight Historical



downstairs was decorated too…







all a cake…



the Marble Hall hosted a full flock of swans… glorious!






Peacocks reigned in the main reception room…



with small peacocks in the biggest christmas tree ever!

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the tree in all its splendour…


more swans and other animals in the Winter Wonderland section


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my favourite part of the house:_)







south dining room was all bedecked in warm colours, feathers and sweets…


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more birds!



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and a certain satyr….


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my favourite tree – the Partridge and Pear tree. very simple, so elegant!


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another favoutire, an antler tree


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the Swan Princess


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the Brussels sprouts room – loving the livid greens and the turkey!

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and the character – the Holy King and the snow queen 🙂

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Lady Augusta

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amazing Upper Octave

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random rabbit





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and, once again, the Hall in its glory


The outside was just as festive, with entertainment, food, carriage rides and gift shop full of excited visitors – but snce we were working inside, we did not manage to capture any of that! we did catcha fe pictures one morning bfore the work – featuring the new stock dolmans from our shop


dolman snow1 dolman snow2 dolman1



And after greeting and chatting to  about 800-900 people a day, on finishing the work I was fit for just one thing… a snooze in a warm bed!


Happy holidays to those who celebrate them!





Victorian Christmas in Stoke Rochford


 Last weekend of November and the first day of December last yer saw us, rather unexpectedly in Stoke Rochford  Hall, attending a Victorian themed Christmas market.  A bit unplanned event, but Black Knight Historical lured us there with one single word – ice rink…

 So the rooms in the hotel were booked  and we were  looking forward to doing some trading and meeting friends – but also, skating!and taking lots of photos of course:-)


the hall

 The hotel was lavish – fantastic surroundings to work with. And work I did – since the skating issue triggered a sudden need for a skating gown – a rendition of the 1876 February frock from the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, and i jut had enough time to do as much as i could on the machine and finish the dress by hand on Saturday at the event, ready for the skating on Sunday.

 Alas, the ice rink proved to be a bit disappointing – a small affair with plastic ice. I brought my own skates, and they did slide a tiny bit, but the ones available to hire were hopeless – not able to glide at all! Maybe safer for children, but disappointing for others, still, we had a go – and Lizzie (  or, if you prefer her professional name, Miss Lillian Love) came along to join the fun n one of our Victorian inspired frocks. a few pictures below….


pretending to be gliding… standing still in fact!




don’t worry, I am also pretending to to have fallen…

After fun on the ‘ice’ we had some fun strolling in the gardens:




  Then it was time to go back to the stall and do some work – Lucas in the meantime  took some nice photos of Eleanor, sporting her new silk velvet dolman jacket



The stall was busy, but I managed to find intervals to work on the new outfit…


finishing touches….

Eleanor was also busy – shopping for Christmas prezzies!


while Lucas manned the stall….


  The evening saw us sneaking out to Grantham for a nice quiet dinner – and we found a lovely Italian restaurant with excellent food!


the starters looking good, and tasting even better — was trying not to think about wearing a corset the next day….

Sunday started with fittings for Eleanor’s Christmas gown, then back to the stall  to work on the frock. by the midday the frock was done and Lucas went snapping….


the wool and fur were nice and warm!




 The dress diary, and indeed the instructions on how to make the dress,  step by step, are published in an article on Your Wardrobe Unlock’d – enjoy!

 Other people occasionally got in from of the camera too – here’s one of Ian, who apparently does not approve of  advertising one of my handmade Christmas wreaths on his hat…


he is not amused…. 🙂 or is he?


All together, a  splendid little weekend with friends, spent in exciting environment – good times!


photography- Pitcheresque Imagery,

dresses –Prior Attire  


2013 in pictures


New Year’s Eve party – by White Mischief

exactly what is says in the title –  a collection of what was happening here in the last 12 months! enjoy – and- Have a lovely New Year!


the first event of the year – Katherine of Aragon festival in Peterborough…



from our Winter Bride collection, shot in January


Prior Engagement team at the EWE in Birmingham





Dianas of the Chase point to point race – sidesaddle…


Easter in Devon: running ..


and hunting – the coldest ever!


and shooting bridal frocks in St. Audries Park – where we got married in October 2011!. good memories:-)


then it was time for the Spring Bride Collection…


in April, we organised a big ball – Spectacular Spectacular, in Pinewood studios…


May was busy – here at a Georgian picnic


doing a Victorian Striptease inn Dragon Hall in Norwich…


entertaining Queen V at Leighton House


June – being a bit silly at a bridal shoot for Events in The Box and Mockford Photography… alas that gown suffered in the recent fire:-(


at the Heritage Festival in Peterborough, in June…


July – Kelmarsh festival, building a bed in the tent…. 🙂


and sweating buckets in Regency gear at Hereford…




went to our first Steampunk markets that summer too – here in CambridgeImageand Stamford

we shoot our Steampunk Amazones in August too: part 1, in Yorkshire and part 2 in Thurleigh




 and did a Summer Bride shoot too…


one of the Summer Brides dresses…


September – at Steampunk Asylum, here just before the fashion show…


and at the market:-)

more markets followed – ILHF and TORM


please, please, can i have some more fabric????


sometimes the markets were busy – sometimes – not so much….



we did some crazy things in October….

in November we also shot the Autumn Bride


alas most, if not all of the Autumn bride dresses were damage in the garage fire….. including this one….


we spent 6 evenings working in Aston Hall with Black Knight Historical…Imageand returned thee to film Regency Christmas  for NBC – the resulting feature can be viewed here: 


we snapped a few pictures making the best of the spectacular autumnal colouring…


and being silly at a Christmas Market at Stoke Rochford…


and enjoying working at Holkham Hall for two very busy weekends…


and seeing Christmas in London, celebrating my last outfit for the year – a mixture of late Victorian and modern:-)

 Over the year we also enjoyed a few good Stitch and Bitch sessions with Julia from Sew Curvy – it is great to have friends you can work side by side with – rather rare for me, so thanks Julia for your friendship!


good times!


looking classy even at work…

Alas the year didn’t end on a good note – we had a garage fire on the 28th – in which most of my stock, fabrics, dresses etc was damaged.. 😦 lots of private re-enactment , camping and sport equipment also vanished:-( still, we were  insured, so hoping some of it can be rebuilt – it will take a while though! 😦


fire started in the evening – faulty socket is to blame…. here the fire is over, just trying to get rid of the fumes..


the wardrobe where the dresses used to be….



mind you, some of the charred, sticky, smelly items may have just one more chance to take to the stage – we plan a postapocalyptic shoot… it is not everyday  you have a beautifully charred wall in your garage, is it?


  and so –  that’s it – goodbye 2013, welcome 2014! bad or good, it will no doubt be interesting – Happy New Year everyone!

Victorian Christmas at Holkham Hall 2013


Ooops, we did it again:-). And yes, indeed Prior Attire was again hired to provide costumed interpretation at this stunning venue.  It was our fourth time at Holkham Hall, and a third Christmas ( previous events are covered here), and each of the events was organised by Black Knight Historical, employing a range of Victorian characters and interpreters –  visitors were greeted  on the gate by  period characters,  in the kitchens maids, cook and housekeeper were busy preparing Christmas dishes, whereas upstairs  a variety of genteel folk would entertain the visitors with tales about the house, Victorian customs, etiquette and  current fashions.

  Outside, there was a lot of entertainments –  swings, carousels, carriage rides, Christmas market, stalls with food, mulled wine, and a lovely restaurant.


One Sunday we managed to snatch a ride and arrived at the house in style despite the strong wind.


in the compound at the end of the day

The house interiors were simply stunning. You will probably recognize the Hall from the film The Duchess, and I bet Georgiana would appreciate its festive decor.  Each year the decorations in every room are different, and theme changes every year too. This time it was the Fairy land – a very whimsical, Lewis Carol-like wonderland , with live Fairies, footmen dressed as animals etc.

We spent 2 weekends working in those sumptuous surroundings –  and although the interacting with about 1000 visitors a day is not for the fainthearted ( or those with laryngitis), it was great fun to meet so many interesting people and talk on so many fascinating topics. The most popular were: Victorian toys and their manufacture,  dress and clothing  ( especially children’s items)  Victorian Christmas traditions ( which carols were sung, Christmas cards, food,) pastimes and etiquette – as always the language of the fan was a popular theme; Victorian technology and inventions, railway,  electricity; social structure, manners and dancing –  so a very wide choice of topics! I realized that apart from good old English, I also talked in French, Spanish and even managed a bit of Mandarin! very exciting.

Alas, since we were working and in character all the time when visitors were around, we couldn’t take any photos  during working hours – but we did snap a lot before the Hall was open to the public – so enjoy the small virtual tour below!


very jolly!


the gigantic Christmas tree in the front room


trying to talk our way into the Santa’s grotto… failed miserably, the guard was to diligent…


stunning tree in the Faery bedroomImage


someone has had too many mince pies, it seems…


High Octave ( hope i remember the name well) gave several amazing performances


there was also something less conventional to unwrap on Christmas day…


the whole South Dining room was converted into a paradise for gingerbread men…


gingerbread folk having fun in a bubble bath


or skating….


there was a wooded Winter Wonderland with moving animals…


including a bowing unicorn



and those who wanted to snatch a mince pie suffered for it…LJP_9392

In the evenings we stayed in the cottage and relaxed, saving our vocal cords….



or worked on clothes – fabric arriving late meant Eleanor’s new frock was being finished on Saturday evening….

But all was done in time and the next morning lovely photos of Eleanor in her new finery were taken




and finally wearing her reversible dolman on the other side…


Lucas at work…


alas, i wasn’t allowed to unpack any of the prezzies….

  Well,  all those above were just a taste of the attractions – we are already wondering what new and different visual feast will  Lady Coke be preparing for the next year  – no doubt  something equally spectacular!  If you live nearby, make sure you visit – it truly is an unforgettable experience! The house is open to visitors not only during Christmas – so do check their events diary!

Many thanks to Black Knight Historical and the Holkham Hall Team for all their hard work!