There’s nothing new about the Global Village
13 March 2015
The Georgian and Regency displays in RAMM’s Making History gallery are being refreshed: from Tuesday 17 March, visitors will be able to enjoy a selection of new costume. A close look at the costume quickly reveals how lives across the globe were closely intertwined even in the late 1700s. Fashionable silk satin shoes were made in cosmopolitan Calcutta (Kolkata), India, while a nankeen riding habit was made in England but named after Nanjing, the Chinese city which gives the fabric its name. The designs on a formal gown of Chinese silk from the 1760s, hand-painted with variety of pigments including malachite, silver and lead, show that it was made especially for the European market. So closely linked were the styles, fashions and materials that a garden or bergère (shepherdess) hat from continental Europe was thought to be Chinese by its mid-19th century collector.
While keen to display more of RAMM’s large costume collection, the changeover was prompted by conservation requirements. All costume is very sensitive, especially to light, and even with the low light levels in the galleries and the protection afforded by the state-of-the-art cases, it cannot be displayed for long.