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And the bride wore…

18 March 2010 by Laura

Conservator at work

Photo opp for the conservation of historic wedding dresses

It is a bridezilla’s heaven over at our decorative arts department at the moment. Some gorgeous wedding garments from National Museums Liverpool’s collection are undergoing expert conservation work ahead of a new exhibition opening this summer at Sudley House.

The exhibition Hitched: Wedding Clothes and Customs runs from 23 July 2010 – 20 February 2011 and explores the history of marriage in the UK and the customs surrounding it, from Victorian times to the present day.

Our curator of costume and textiles Pauline Rushton tells us a bit more about the conservation work required for this kind of exhibition:


Some of the dresses featured in Hitched are more than 150 years old and quite fragile, so it’s important that we carry out this conservation work to help them look their best for the exhibition. They have to be carefully cleaned and even re-stitched in some cases to make them strong enough for mounting and display. After conservation, the dresses are mounted on mannequins that are padded out to their individual shapes, and that can be quite tricky and time-consuming. Before they go on display in the gallery the conservator will steam some of them to lift creases out of the silk and make their trimmings stand out. It can be a time consuming job but very satisfying when the end result looks right.

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