Historic Wedding Dresses to go on Show at Sudley House

There is a new exhibition opening at Sudley House this week – but it’s not this one. This opens in the Summer, exhibitions at NML venues take many months and sometimes years to plan, prepare and install.

Conservation work on wedding costumes for new exhibition

Stunning wedding garments from National Museums Liverpool collection are undergoing expert conservation work ahead of a new exhibition opening this summer at Sudley House.

Hitched: Wedding Clothes and Customs runs from 23 July 2010 – 20 February 2011, and explores the history of marriage in the UK and the customs surrounding it, from Victorian times to the present day.

The range of costumes reflect how despite the changes in fashion and traditions, marriage remains a significant event in the life of an individual.

Pauline Rushton, curator of costumes says: “Some of the dresses are more than 150 years old and quite fragile, so it’s important that we carry out this conservation work to help them look their best for the exhibition. They have to be carefully cleaned and even re-stitched in some cases to make them strong enough for mounting and display.


After conservation, the dresses are mounted on mannequins that are padded out to their individual shapes, and that can be quite tricky and time-consuming. Before they go on display in the gallery the conservator will steam some of them to lift creases out of the silk and make their trimmings stand out. It can be a time consuming job but very satisfying when the end result looks right.”