Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue

Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue


On Monday 12 July I finally reclaimed by dining room!  How did I do this …. quite easily really .. I moved all of the wedding dresses that had been ‘staying’ in the room to the Blue Room at Doddington.   You have no idea how much light piles of dresses take out of a room!  A number of dresses have been delivered to my home address:  a number of dresses by Marion Thomas (www.marionthomas.co.uk) were brought up from London by my good friend Owen Davies.  Owen was the first male Apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework and was staying with me as he had an embroidery workshop in Lincoln.   Marion has been incredibly generous with the dresses and other equipment that she has loaned to me – she has even loaned her own wedding dress which is just incredibly beautiful.  Many of Marion’s creations have been featured in the top bridal mags such as Brides, Cosmopolitan Bride, You and Your Wedding, Wedding and Home, Bliss for Brides, Wedding Ideas and the Wedding Directory.   A few of the dresses were given an airing on the Saturday but I won’t go into any more detail – if Owen is reading this blog he knows that I am talking about.  Let’s just say that I have some ‘very useful’ photographs!

On 9 July you would have found me at Burghley House (www.burghley.co.uk) in Stamford as I had to collect Miranda Rock’s wedding dress.  I didn’t come back with a dress but I did enjoy some wonderful tea and cake whilst hanging around for an hour or so in the town.  Miranda assures me that her dress will feature in the exhibition.  On my way up the A1, I stopped off at Easton Walled Gardens (www.eastonwalledgardens.co.uk) to collect Lady Ursula Cholmoley’s dress. 

Doddington Hall is a member of Hidden England – the group is made up of Belvoir Castle, Grimsthorpe Castle, Belton House, Rockingham Castle and Burghley House.  Unfortunatley, there are no dresses at Grimsthorpe or Belton but Belvoir, Rockingham and Burghley, as well as ourselves, will have a ‘representative’.

Another wonderful friend of mine, Paddy Killer (www.paddykillerart.co.uk) agreed to lend her wedding dress.  Paddy was delivering a lecture in Hertfordshire so dropped it in on her way home … she ended up staying two days which was great fun. 



Paddy told me ‘that the cotton velvet fabric length was embroidered in 1969 using an ancient Saurer machine, which imitates hand stitching, as a fashion project whilst I was doing my BA Hons at Birmingham Polytechnic. My design was informed by a butterfly’s wing, a popular subject at the time. The threads are DMC cotton perle and stranded cotton.  I made up the fabric length for my wedding dress in 1975. I was married in a civil ceremony, in London Ontario, in the chambers of Judge Marshman, the father of one of my husband’s students at the University of Western Ontario’.

Paddy, the dress is fab but I am not so sure about the shoes!

Yesterday, Tuesday, I collected a stunning black dress from Angela Vickers in Nottingham and on the way home I called into a rather wet and windy Belvoir Castle (www.belvoircastle.com) to collect that Her Grace The Duchess of Rutland has loaned to the exhibition.   The dress was a gift to Lady Ursula D’Abo from Isha, The Maharani of Jaipur (she was the 3rd wife of the polo playing Maharaha of Jaipur, the last ruler of theKachlawaha Clan.  The Maharani sadly died in 1970 and she gifted this dress to Lady Ursula in about 1946/7.  It is heavily decorated with Peacocks which is the sacred bird of Rajastan.

Today I have been scheduling in the collection of the last few dresses that have not yet arrived at Doddington as well as talking to suppliers of mannequins and all the other essential kit that I will need.

This weekend will be very tense as we shall hear on Monday the 19th if we have been successful with our funding bid.  If we are, then THAT VERY SPECIAL DRESS will come to Doddington and I will put you all out of your misery as to what that special dress is.



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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.