Grandeur in the basement

On my way to the living chandelier, I was distracted by this exhibit in the basement by the tunnel entrance into the V&A (there is a tunnel from South Kensington Underground station to the museums on Exhibition Road, running underneath the road).

This tower of cutlery and serving dishes is the wedding service given to the Duke of Wellington and was a gift to V&A.  It is the introduction piece to the 1600 – 1815 gallery showing lots of Napoleonic artefacts.

The workmanship on all this furniture is amazing.  In the 17th century there will have been many artisans training to make such items, and no doubt their earlier pieces will have been in less sophisticated homes than the ones these ones were used in.  Many of the skills may be all but lost these days.

The garments on display are also magnificent.  As fabric and fashion is an interest of mine, I do at least know that the skills to make clothes like these are still being taught in both fashion schools and in the ateliers of the haute coture.

My favourite piece displayed is this half-sized garment.  It is believed to have been used by tailors when visiting prospective customers to display skill and discuss the individual requirements.

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The reason I like it so much, is that this technique of making half-sized garments is also alive and well, in fact here you can see the half-sized dress I made for one of my projects at fashion school!

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