28th August - 27th October 2022

Crowning Glory - The Story of Tiaras

This exhibition, timed for the national celebration of HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, traced the history of glamorous jewellery through the exquisite costume jewellery collection made by designer Andrew Prince for historic films and television series.

Andrew Prince has created jewellery for stage and screen, including many of the opulent pieces worn by the main characters in the acclaimed television series Downton Abbey and the 2019 film of the same name (Carnival Films and Focus Features), as well as for the cast of The Young Victoria, Mrs Henderson Presents, Muppets Most Wanted (Miss Piggy) and for celebrities including Michael Jackson and Shirley Bassey.

An extensive selection of these exquisite costume jewellery pieces, from tiaras to chokers, earrings and necklaces, created for and worn in these productions, were on show at Firle Place as part of Crowning Glory.

The historic room settings of Firle Place served as the perfect period backdrop for this glittering exhibition about the enduring appeal, opulence and romance of the tiara.

Lady Desborough and the Gage Family

Since Sir John Gage (1479-1556) built his Tudor manor house at Firle, the family have enjoyed connections with the monarchy through the centuries. The exhibition will open with a display of the Coronation raiment worn by members of the Gage family including Imogen 6th Viscountess Gage, mother of the current Lord Gage. Her mother, Lady Desborough (Ettie, 1867-1952), was a leading Edwardian society hostess, Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Mary, and friend to six Prime Ministers including Churchill. Many of the celebrated works of art at Firle Place originate from the Cowper collection and came to Firle thorough inheritance from Ettie to her daughter Imogen, 6th Viscountess Gage.