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September & October 2021

The Regency Wardrobe

Inspired by Autumn de Wilde’s recent feature film of Jane Austen’s EMMA, in which the house was Emma’s home of Hartfield, Firle Place will be hosting The Regency Wardrobe, an exhibition by Stephanie Smart in September & October 2021.

Tickets will be available to purchase from April 2021.

This exquisite collection of 11 Regency costumes and a myriad of accompanying accessories, has been created by the hands of decorative paper textile artist Stephanie Smart, but all is not as it first appears… Astonishingly each of the items in the entire collection, from dresses and shoes, to fans, jackets and bonnets, have been entirely made from only paper and thread. The exhibition re-interprets the popular Regency art form of the paper cut silhouette and also responds to the history of Firle Place, with one piece uniquely inspired by one of the most famous parts of our historic collection.

The exhibition will be displayed throughout the house, using the historic room settings, (many still featuring their confection of Regency colours from the film of EMMA), as the perfect period backdrop for the costumes. The exhibition will culminate in a beautiful ball dress in-situ on a Regency style chalked floor – an ephemeral art almost lost to time. Frequently created for Regency balls, (initially for the safety of the dancers whose shoes could slip on the floors), chalking the floor brought a new transient dimension to the ballroom decorations, which would turn to dust over the course of the evening.

The Regency Wardrobe

About Stephanie Smart

Stephanie Smart started her unique fashion house and fine art studio, The House of Embroidered Paper, in 2017. Each garment she produces is a work of paper textiles employing paper craft techniques and embroidery and inspired by period and place. The ambition behind every piece is that it be simultaneously visually beautiful, technically ambitious and conceptually interesting.

The exhibition is a beautiful representation of Regency style which will undoubtedly be a highlight of the Firle year.

Some of items in the collection will be for sale at www.stephaniesmart.wixsite.com

The Regency Wardrobe

Group Bookings

We are pleased to welcome group bookings, up to a maximum of 20 people. Please contact [email protected] for more information and rates for exclusive tours. Groups are usually hosted on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings subject to availability.

Lunch is also available at Firle Place if pre-booked.  Please contact [email protected]

The Regency Wardrobe

Talks and Workshops

A series of talks and workshops, chosen to compliment the exhibition and led by Costume and Fashion Historians, will run throughout September & October 2021.

Many Faces of English Fans in the Late Georgian Period

Thursday 9th September 2021
Mary Kitson, Fan Historian, The Fan Museum, Greenwich

“Just as ladies’ fashions developed and changed, so did fans and, until more modern times, there was possibly no greater change than the one that took place at the end of the 18th century.”

Mary Kitson will explore the various types of English paper fans and the ways in which they were used and crafted, following styles of dress – as the 18th century led into the Regency. Mary Kitson holds degrees in Art History and Renaissance Studies and a Consultant to The Fan Museum, Hon. Secretary of The Fan Circle International and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fan Makers. Over the last 20 years she has developed her interest in hand fans, regularly lecturing on the subject and bringing this oft neglected costume accessory and art object, to a wider audience.

Ticket price – £26.00 per person (on sale April 2021)

Ticket includes
Tea and coffee on arrival
Talk by guest speaker
A tour of Firle Place and The Regency Wardrobe Exhibition

Photograph © The Fan Museum

Rascals and Rakehells: Original Menswear from Jane Austen’s time.

Thursday 16th September 2021
Mark Wallis, Authority on Men’s Clothing and Historical Costume Interpreter

Mark Wallis is an authority on historic men’s clothing and sources rare items for museums around the world including the V&A, Colonial Williamsburg and Musee des Arts Decoratifs. He has collected original menswear and accessories since he was a schoolboy, and in that time, has amassed what the V&A describes as, the biggest known private collection of historic menswear from 1650 – 1950. Mark enjoys a flamboyant personal style, often dressing in reproduction clothing in his role as Managing Director of historical interpretation company Past Pleasures Ltd, but also for his hobby of period dancing.

Ticket price – £26.00 per person (on sale April 2021)

Ticket includes:
Tea and coffee on arrival
Talk by guest speaker
A tour of Firle Place and The Regency Wardrobe Exhibition

Beautifully Hand-Made – Regency Treasures from the Olive Matthews Collection

Thursday 30th September 2021
Grace Evans, Curator of Fashion, Chertsey Museum

The Olive Matthews Collection at Chertsey Museum incorporates over 6,000 items of men’s, women’s and children’s dress and accessories dating from c.1600 to the present day. The collection is particularly known for its 18 th and early 19 th century holdings, which have survived in remarkably good condition. My talk will take a look at the origins of the collection; how Olive Matthews gathered her precious items together during her lifetime, her motivations, and how the collection came to be at Chertsey Museum. I will then focus on important items of beautifully hand-made Regency dress, some of which have inspired the work of Stephanie Smart, paper sculptor. Their fabrics, decoration, construction and history will all be explored using a wide variety of sumptuously detailed images from this important and treasured collection.

Ticket price – £26.00 per person (on sale April 2021)

Ticket includes:
Tea and coffee on arrival
Talk by guest speaker
A tour of Firle Place and The Regency Wardrobe Exhibition

Photograph: Silk Spencer, c.1815, © Olive Matthews Collection, Chertsey Museum.
Photo by John Chase Photography

Quilling workshop

Thursday 7th October 2021
Stephanie Smart, decorative paper artist and head of the House of Embroidered Paper.

This memorable exhibition is the work of one woman, decorative paper textile artist Stephanie Smart. Firle is delighted that Stephanie has agreed to host a workshop on ancient art of paper quilling or paper filigree which she uses extensively in her creations. The art form involves rolling, shaping and gluing paper into ornamental designs, in Stephanie’s case mimicking embroidery, lace and haberdashery.

Ticket price – £40 per person (on sale April 2021)

Ticket includes
Your ticket includes tea and coffee on arrival and a light lunch.
Workshop led by Stephanie Smart. A unique opportunity to learn the art of paper quilling.

The Regency Wardrobe

Accessibility

Due to the historical nature of the property we regret that we are only able to offer access to the ground floor rooms to those visitors using wheelchairs. The stairs to the first floor are wide and have a handrail and are usually suitable for those with limited mobility; we can offer a chair in each room for anyone who cannot stand but it would be helpful to know this in advance of your visit.

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