|Oscar-Winning Costumes from ‘The Duchess’ Come To Chiswick House|
New exhibition in house Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire described as her "earthly paradise”
Throughout April, Chiswick House will be exhibiting the Oscar-winning and opulent costumes from the recent film, The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes. The lavish period drama told the story of the loveless marriage between the 18th century aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish and the 5th Duke of Devonshire. The Duke owned Chiswick House and Georgiana who frequently resided there described it as her “earthly paradise”.
On display in the house’s elegant apartments will be fourteen costumes from the film by designer Michael O’Connor, whose work on The Duchess won this year’s Oscar for Best Costume Design. The exhibition includes the red ‘drunken’ dress, worn by Georgiana when she drunkenly knocks over a candelabra and sets her wig on fire, and a purple paniered dress which would have been the ultimate fashion statement at that time.
Michael O’Connor, the Oscar-winning costume designer of The Duchess, said, "It's a privilege to be invited to exhibit the costumes from "The Duchess" at Chiswick House.
“The costumes were designed with an eye on reality and accuracy. I would always imagine Georgiana's surroundings and environment including rooms, furniture and decoration.
“It is satisfying to know that the costumes are installed in one of the houses where over two centuries ago one can imagine them actually being worn."
Sarah Finch-Crisp, Director of the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, said, “It is very exciting to have Michael O'Connor's Oscar-winning costumes at Chiswick House. It’s a wonderful opportunity to make the connection between the enthralling story of Georgiana, dubbed the 'Empress of Fashion' by contemporary media, and the house and gardens which she refurbished and lavishly entertained in.
“Today we are conscious of Georgiana's presence and influence at Chiswick, she knew the elegant apartments in the house intimately and was fascinated by the gardens. The bust of Napoleon which she brought to Chiswick is an indication of her admiration of the Emperor of France. We are working to bring back Georgiana’s Chiswick, for example we are restoring the Classic Bridge over the river which was built during her time here.
“The house will be open every day during this exhibition for visitors to see these wonderful costumes and find out about the legacy of Georgiana and the Devonshires at Chiswick House.”
The Duchess at Chiswick exhibition will open 1 April and will run 10am – 5pm every day until 30 April. Normal admission rules apply (Adults £4.40, Concessions £3.70, Child £2.20, Family £11).
Tours and Talks
Free ‘Georgiana tours’ will take place every Sunday at 2pm. Group tours will be given Monday to Friday. They cost £25.00 and can be booked by calling 020 8995 0508.
Most of the Grounds are still being restored and not yet open. Access to the House is via the bridge by the Cascade, at the end of the lake. The only entrances are: Burlington Lane (opposite Chiswick School), Stavely Road and Park Road.
April 3, 2009