A Victorian Silhouette’ exhibition to showcase Gold Museum
A new fashion exhibition, A Victorian Silhouette, opening at Sovereign Hill’s Gold Museum in Ballarat will provide a glimpse into the fashion trends and role of women in the Victorian era (1837-1901).
Running from 18th May to 4th November, the exhibition draws on the Gold Museum’s incredible collection of original Victorian garments and accessories, shown alongside reproductions made by Sovereign Hill’s Costume Department to highlight the craftsmanship in recreating Victorian-era fashion.
“Female clothing in the Victorian era reflected the role and status of women in society. Wealthy and middle class women wore more decorative and elaborate clothing, while the outfits of their working counterparts were simpler,” says Gold Museum Curator, Snjez Cosic.
“With costume one of the most recognisable aspects of Sovereign Hill’s interpretation of life on the Victorian goldfields, this exhibition provides visitors with a fantastic opportunity to understand how fashion and women’s roles were defined by the Victorian era.”
Highlights of the exhibition will include:
Behind the Scenes:
Staff in Sovereign Hill’s costume department work tirelessly to achieve the 1850s look. The team operates an on-site made-to-measure workroom where historical costumes are researched, produced and repaired for nearly 2,000 costumed staff. Visitors can step inside the costume department’s workroom and discover how Sovereign Hill’s characters come to life. A selection of bonnets created by the Friends of Sovereign Hill bonnet-makers can also be tried on to recreate the Victorian look of the 1850s.
A Victorian Silhouette – The Film:
Peek behind the door of a Victorian boudoir and discover the secrets of the 1850s silhouette. Filmed exclusively for A Victorian Silhouette, the exhibition features an extended version of the short film chosen as a winner in the Australian Category of the 2018 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Fashion Film Awards.
The exhibition showcases the Gold Museum’s unique collection of women’s dresses and accessories from the Victorian period. Key objects to be displayed include:
- Wedding Dress from 1882. Made from a combination of satin silk and raw silk, the dress was worn by Amy Gibbs for her marriage to Ernest Henry Lawson in 1882. Amy was the daughter of John Gibbs, the proprietor of the Charlie Napier Hotel. Sadly, Amy was only married for one year. She delivered a stillborn son in 1883 and died herself the following day on her wedding anniversary, aged 30 years.
- Day dress, circa 1860s. One of the rarest items in the Gold Museum’s collection, this polished cotton and wool blend dress was worn by Eliza Perrin, a hotel owner on the Ballarat goldfields.
- Ballgown from 1867. This ballgown, in green silk with cream ribbon, was worn by seventeen year old Mary Fenton Whitelaw in 1867 to a ball held to celebrate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Ballarat. Mary met her future husband, Lewis Stewart Blair Junior, at the ball.
- English tea set, circa 1885. The set belonged to Isabella Dobson who migrated to Ballarat in 1851 with her family. Isabella worked for an aristocratic family who gifted her the tea set before she set sail for Australia.
- Wedding accessories, circa 1890. Worn as part of a wedding ensemble in 1890, the accessories feature cream kid leather gloves and a wax orange blossom headpiece.
A Victorian Silhouette runs at the Gold Museum from 18th May – 4th November. Entry is priced at $13.60 for adults and $7.20 for children. Concession and Family Tickets also available. Tickets that include entry into Sovereign Hill are also available. To find out more, visit sovereignhill.com.au