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Ludlow Museum Collections Centre

18th Century Bits:

Ludlow Collections centre quilted yellow 18th C bodice

We first came here back in 2018 to study the Aqualate Hall mantua (which we called Shrewsbury – it seems to have officially been retermed ‘Aqualate Hall’ now by the unknown authorities up there in the museum world)

From that first session we always wanted to re-visit but it’s hard to know what kind of items they actually have in their collection – it not being searchable online.

A fellow instagramer (@the_back_stitch_boys) shared some images of the yellow quilted bodice and we’ve not studied anything like that. We knew we were up at some point to Berrington to set up the Mantua Display – but how it worked out was more perfect than we could imagine! I literally gave the poor museum only about 4 days notice and amazingly they were able to fit me in.

So here are some pics of what we’ve been studying up there – and very much am going to continue to study once we can book another trip. It’s good old money issues though so if anyone wants to buy the book and support a study trip lol.

Quilted Yellow Bodice + Stomacher:

yellow striped 18th century fashion    18th century stomachers examples of

This item was stunning to study. Complete with it’s matching stomacher – the whole ensemble was in great condition and appears to feature no alterations whatsoever.


Embroidered Stomacher:

18th century embroidery examples

Now this one was interesting as we’re hoping to get funding to study a pair of court stays at the NMS (National Museum of Scotland) . This, what we call ‘Torpedo’ style front tab is hugely fascinating to us and we really want to know why and how it developed. The fact that this stomacher has been embroidered and decorated to assimilate the court stays front is intriguing. It was also worth taking some dimensions in order to compare to NMS stays.


Covered Stays:

georgian stays and staymaking by HandBound Costumes

Exactly what covered stays are is something we’ve always wondered – their front opening nature and very basic style boning has always raised many questions and we’d never really seen anything like it in the portraiture of the day. This pair however were a little different from the usual design. It had no front opening – and looked to be very similar to how a robe du cour would have been constructed. Except the boning – the boning was very similar to the covered stays – hugely chunky – and with loose bents in this case – and straight, straight down lines for the boning. Very different from the fluid and detailed court stays – which, though are made from patterned silks actually don’t always appear to be covered – as in the stitching can be seen from the top.

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