Sunday 14 October 2012

"The Secret of Chateau Wardrobes" exhibition in Dačice

The main reason we went to Dačice - the main reason for me, anyway - was an exhibition of extant clothes from the end of the 18th century through the 19th to the beginning of the 20th. Those clothes all came from chateaus and museums, or private collections, in the region.

The exhibition was fantastic: just two rooms, but packed full of awesome.

And photographing was allowed.

You can imagine what a happy little marmot I was!

You can see all the photos from the exhibition here; I'll only post some, because, seriously, 248 photos? :D Hopefully, I'll at least eventually manage to add captions to all of them...

And maybe post some more details of some clothes later. For now, I'm posting this wrap-up post so that I don't feel guilty about not having posted it earlier!

This suit (what is it called, really?) is from the end of the 18th century. It comes from the collections of the chateau in Jindřichův Hradec; it belonged to Jan Rudolf Černín z Chudenic (a count from the region; Johann Rudolf Czernin von und zu Chudenitz) and may have been made in France.

This one's another of Jan Rudolf Černín's clothes; it's from 1791, allegedly made in Paris. These two are silk.

This one's Jan Rudolf Černín's from the end of the 18th century as well, but it's woolen, and simpler, indicating a later date, or perhaps a different purpose?

It's got painted buttons. Each of the buttons has a slightly different miniature painting in it. Wow.

The wedding dress of Marie Terezie Černínová, née Orsini-Rosenberg, Vienna 1817. Muslin (obviously). Collections from Jindřichův Hradec.

The manequin was very obviously the wrong size for it; but that meant I got to see how it closes.
I'm not sure whether the tie is just a tie, or whether it's also a drawstring. But notice there's a hook in the middle and an eye on top, alternating on one side: a neat little trick against accidental opening I've read about some time ago on some costuming site. It's proven to be period-correct now. ;-)

Also, there is a patch under the bust on the right side, which you can't really see in the photo, but it made me a very happy little marmot to see that yes, these fabrics tore. Even if you were a countess. And isn't that bodice treatment lovely?

And now my favourite garment from the whole exhibition. Not so much in colour; but the construction and overall silhouette are delicious.

An 1830s dress/wrapper from the museum in Písek. Well, they say it is a day dress. But it's a wrap dress. Silk taffetta. (BTW, they tend not to say many details about the construction in the captions, rather they tell the general history of clothing in the era. Nice for people who know nothing about it, a bit redundant for me.)

I told you. The construction is delicious. Look at that tiny piping at the hems!

Apparently, it closes with fabric-covered buttons and some sort of loops or hidden buttonholes. My guess is the former, because the fabric at the right side was slightly scrunched as if something was sewn to the wrong side - you can sort of see that in the photo.

The details end here. There's too much to post details of everything; these were the earliest, most interesting pieces. Most interesting to me, mind you. (And I even have more details of them.) If you want to see more, go to the album, as linked above, or let me know in the comments and I'll put the photos with my observations (if I have any) in another post.

From here on, I will post single photos of all the other garments.

An 1820s-30s quilted spencer, silk brocade, from the Písek collections. I'm a bit suspicious about the "spencer" designation, what with the deep, deep neckline. (Seriously, that's plunging even by today's standards.) Was this truly a winter spencer as they claim, or just a heavily quilted dress bodice?

An 1850s day dress of satin/moiré silk, trimmed with velvet ribbons. From the Písek collections.
(The collar and undersleeves are just paper for exhibition here.)

An 1850s dress with day & evening bodice; an 1850s child's bodice. Silk taffetta, adult dress trimmed with velvet ribbon. Muzeum Vysočiny Třebíč (The Highlands Museum in Třebíč).

An 1850s day silk taffetta dress with silk lace collar. And a gentleman's woolen frock coat (?) from the third quarter of the 19th century. The Třebíč collections. I could not get a particularly good photo of the coat: you know, black.

Here's a dress that I somehow forgot to photograph the caption for. I think it's late 1860s/early 1870s. And that the caption said the tails were a separate piece.

An 1860s-70s hoopskirt from the Třebíč museum. Again, it seemed the manequin was the wrong size for it: too small in the waist.

Thus ends the first room. Well, there were also various odds and ends, like house slippers, fans, perfume flagons... But this post is going to be long enough with the clothes only! There were various odds and ends in each of the rooms, actually, and by the end of it I gave up on photographing all of them.

And on to the other room.

Two early 1880s dresses from the Písek collections. Both silk taffetta and ribbons; the one on the right also involved lace and, I think, also a beaded embroidery.
Unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough light in this room; I alternated between flash and no flash and as it happened, this particular dress got mostly the no-flash treatment. These later dresses had mostly duller, darker colours, too, which made me slightly less excited about them... and more difficult to capture the details.
But the dress on the right has an interesting tab treatment on the bottom bodice hem, very much reminiscent of 18th century stays.

Left: two-piece dress of silk taffetta and lace; the lace on the skirt is not original. 1890s. Písek museum.
Right: two-piece dress of silk taffetta and velvet, lace. 1890s. Třebíč museum.

Here are two odds and ends I have to share.

Turn of the century hats from the Třebíč museum (or perhaps the bowler hat is from Písek). I was immediately reminded of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, and now I can't think of these two hats in any other terms.

And then this:

A trunk fitted with drawers, and clothes-hangers, and everything. Seems very practical, must be awfully heavy, though.

On the left, one of my less favourite garments in the exhibition (which could have been awesome in different colours, but the thick black lace kind of kills it). On the right, my second favourite after the 1830s wrap dress.
1890s dresses from the Třebíč Museum - at least they claim them to be. The one on the left looks too modern to me to be 1890s, but who knows - not me, I mean.
Left: silk satin, cotton lace, velvet.
Right: embroidered muslin. They did not mention what the pink underlayer was.

Turn of the century tailor's dummy from the private collection of Kristina Ketmanová from Brno.
Petticoat with train, organza (?) with brocade stripes. Třebíč museum.
The caption makes no mention of the corset.

Camisole, embroidered batiste, machine-made and needlepoint lace. Třebíč museum. 1900-1910.
Corset, late 19th century. K. Ketmanová's collection.

Once more, the captions to these escaped my photographic attention.

An 1890s corset, branded "Venetia", Vienna; coutil and baleen. Třebíč museum.

Last but not least, there were these two court uniforms.

On the left, the uniform of a royal-imperial chamberlain, a title bestowed on all adult male members of Austro-Hungarian aristocratic families with enough noble ancestors. Basically, it meant they had access to the court.
Wool, golden thread, gilded brass. Cca mid-19th century. Jindřichův Hradec.

On the right, there's the uniform of the Moravian estates from the collections of the Dačice chateau. The owners of the chateau happened to be members of both the Bohemian and the Moravian estates, thanks to their owning property in both the countries. There were more uniforms of the estates to be seen on the tour - which I, obviously, could not take photos of.
Wool, golden thread, gilded brass. 2nd quarter of the 19th century.

And that's it for now. Quite enough!

Interestingly enough, there were no clothes from the 1840s there (except maybe the uniforms). But I got to see a real-life Empire/Regency dress - a first for me, would you believe that?

Which one is your favourite? Any stylistic/construction surprises? Or is it all the same old to you?

EDIT: I thought, I should link to the chateaus and museums that these come from.
Státní zámek Dačice
Státní zámek Jindřichův Hradec
Prácheňské muzeum v Písku
Muzeum Vysočiny Třebíč (only in Czech)


  1. Yes, the light colored hat is definitely reminiscent of Dr. Watson! I think my favorite is the burgundy/black short sleeved gown - beautiful! But, the unforgettable one is that blue dotted man's "suit", as you say - wow!
    I am trying hard to imagine a man actually wearing that - it's not easy. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Since I've seen so many fairy tale films, many of them with 18th century costumes, I do not find it so hard to imagine anyone wearing that. Some people can look very dashing in this style. ;-) Though it's so strange.

      Yes, that 1850s dress was beautiful. It's just the right amount of frosting and cake, to borrow current sewist terms. :D
      Though, as apparent from my post, I was more smitten with the 1830s wrap dress - probably because seeing such a thing, and so well-made on top of that, was also a first for me. And I have a thing for shawl collars. :P

  2. Yes, shawl collars are appealing to me, too.