This may turn into a rather long piece but please bear with me. I took a lot of photos because I was so interested in what I saw. This has given me lots of food for thought to explore, when/if I do my Masters!
I was incredibly fortunate to be invited by Ceredigion Museum to a private viewing of their lingerie collection and permitted to take as many photos as I wanted (please do not copy, save or use these images without the Museum’s permission. I was permitted to use them on my blog but that’s all. If you wish to use any of my images please either contact me or the museum. I will add a link at the end).
I am adding some of the images that caught my attention and I will tell you why I love them!!
According to Valerie Steele, in the introduction for, Exposed: A History of Lingerie by Colleen Hill, there are two types of lingerie; soft and hard. Soft lingerie consists of knickers, slips, petticoats. stockings, nightgowns, camisoles and unstructured bras etc while hard lingerie includes corsets, girdles, hoops (crinoline and bustles) and structured bras (underwired to you and I).
I am starting with the soft items I particularly liked in the museum collection. What caught my attention the most with these garments, was the lace or embroidery detail rather than the items themselves. I loved the broderie anglaise patterns and the peach silk knickers…you just don’t see real silk knickers these days unless you’re rich..compared to the fake, man-made materials of today, there is just no comparison. Britain used to have a fine reputation for manufacturing broderie anglaise and other quality textiles, that has been sadly lost to us now.
Now we come to the items I loved the most! The corsets and girdles!! I love the way they’re constructed, from the strapping, to the boning, but especially the suspender clasps! I don’t know what it is about them. I love the old metal ones over today’s plastic ones, any day!
Again I love the details, must be the Realist in me! The lace trimmings and the patterns and the boning! These are art forms in their own right!!
I even loved the museum’s collection of replacement clasps & straps etc. Very few items were dated though, so it’s difficult to put them into the timeline of lingerie invention. However, if I was to hazard a guess, I would say these were the post-war, make do and mend era. When garments were repaired, not like today’s throwaway culture! If any of you think otherwise, please feel free to correct me. I love to learn!!
So there we have it! My museum visit which has only further inspired me to continue on the current path I am following with my subject matter. For the first time in my artistic career, I can honestly say, I am passionate about my subject! Isn’t that what all artists strive for?
If you’re in the Aberystwyth area please do go and visit Ceredigion Museum. Click on the link below to go to their website.