Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue

Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue


Now I know this large blue bag doesn’t look to exciting I know but what’s inside it IS extremely exciting! 

On Friday 30 April, I travelled to Nottingham to meet a lady called Angela Vickers who hand makes stunning wedding dresses.  Her studio is based at Nottingham Fashion Centre on Lower Parliament Street in Nottingham.  After navigating myself around the rabbit warren that is the City of Nottingham and found the studio, I was given an extremely warm welcome by the lady herself. 

Every gown that Angela makes is individually crafted using only the finest silks, satins, delicate lace, feather, specialised embroidery and embellished with fabulous crystals.  Brides come from all over, even abroad, to her studio.  In the showroom there was a dress that took my breath away:  Angela then told me it had been bought by an Italian girl and she was taking it to Italy!

We moved into another room and Angela disappeared behind rows and rows of gowns, I didn’t think I would ever see her again but then a she appeared with a dress, disappeared again, then she appeared with another dress.  This went on for about ten minutes and by the end of that time I was surrounded by some stunning gowns.

When I got the dresses home, I just had to get them out of the bag again.  And this photo shows them hanging in my dining room.  The room resembled a very up market fancy dress hire shop. 
Below I have given you a glimpse and a brief description of just a few of the ones that Angela has kindly loaned to the Exhibition.
The photo on the right shows an copy of the wedding dress worn by Lady Jane Grey.  She was the nominal Queen of England for just nine days in 1553, as part of an unsuccessful bid to prevent the accession of the Catholic Mary Tudor.
Jane was born in the autumn of 1537, the daughter of the Marquess of Dorset. Through her mother, Lady Frances Brandon, she was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII. At around the age of 10, Jane entered the household of Henry VIII’s last queen, Katherine Parr where she was exposed to a strongly Protestant, academic environment. Jane developed into an intelligent and pious woman.  In October 1551, her father was created duke of Suffolk and Jane began to appear at court. There, real power lay in the hands of the fiercely Protestant Duke of Northumberland, who acted as regent to the young king, Edward VI. In May 1553, Jane was married to Northumberland’s son, Lord Guildford Dudley.
It became clear that Edward was dying, and Northumberland was desperate to prevent the throne passing to Edward’s half-sister and heir, the Catholic Mary Tudor. Northumberland persuaded the king to declare Mary illegitimate, as well as Edward’s other half-sister Elizabeth, and alter the line of succession to pass to Jane.  Edward died on 6 July 1553. Four days later, Jane was proclaimed queen. However, Mary Tudor had widespread popular support and by mid-July, even Suffolk had abandoned his daughter and was attempting to save himself by proclaiming Mary queen. Northumberland’s supporters melted away and Suffolk easily persuaded his daughter to relinquish the crown.
Mary imprisoned Jane, her husband and her father in the Tower of London. While Suffolk was pardoned, Jane and her husband were tried for High Treason in November 1553. Jane pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. The carrying out of the sentence was suspended, but Suffolk’s support for Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion in February 1554 sealed Jane’s fate. On 12 February, she and her husband were beheaded. Her father followed them two days later.
Lady Jane Grey’s signature
This is a close up of the exquisite embroidery on the sleeves and body of the dress
The Lady Jane Dress is very elaborate but a favourite of mine is very ‘Jane Austen’.  I love its simplicity.
Waiting for Mr D’Arcy
Angela also loaned her copy of the late Princess of Wales’ wedding dress.  Most of the materials used for Princess Diana’s dress were made in Britain. The designers constructed the dress from three different types of fabric, including high-quality taffeta made from silk woven on Britain’s Lullingstone silk farm, more than 100 yards of tulle, and lace that once belonged to Queen Mary, which the designer and her mother hand-embroidered with more than 10,000 pearls and sequins.  The lace came from Nottingham.
The original dress worn in 1981.
After the dresses were packed away, we had to get them down to my car somehow.  Angela and her Assistant, kindly packed them into a huge bag which made it a lot easier but I still wasn’t sure if I could get them in the car but we had to try.  On our way down the stairs, we met a couple coming up who looked at us in horror as they said it looked as though we were disposing of a body! 

The dresses fitted in my car but the petticoats for each of the dresses didn’t so I will collect these at a later date.  Not a problem, as I will know exactly how to find Angela’s studio!!

I am very grateful to Angela for taking the time out of her day on Friday and for the wonderful collection of dresses that she has loaned to Doddington Hall.  For information about Angela visit http://angela-vickers.co.uk/.
Next week I shall be visiting another lady who is kindly loaning her dress – it was made by her and has a wonderful story attached.  However, until I meet with her and get her approval to tell you the story, my lips are sealed!  I spoke to her on the telephone last night and she is quite a lady!


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About this Sponsor

A wonderful and exciting collection of interesting and historical wedding dresses dating from the 1820s to the present day.  Many of the dresses have been loaned by private collectors as well as national museums.  A number of the dresses on show, have been loaned by a number of the great houses of England:  Burghley, Belvoir Castle, Somerleyton Hall to name just a few.

The interesting dresses will include one made from the fleece of a Lincolnshire Longwool sheep, loo paper and a complete knitted dress include the sandwiches and cake destined for the reception.  Canine wedding dresses will also be featured.