Take in the splendor of the first half of the 20th century — both fictional and real, British and American — at this spring’s Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Wilmington.
The exhibit compares the fictional world of period drama “Downton Abbey” with the world of Winterthur and the du Pont family. The exhibit will be on display March 1 through Jan. 4, 2015.
Forty costumes and accessories worn upstairs and downstairs on the television series will be displayed in Winterthur’s galleries. Maggie Lidz, one of the three co-curators of the exhibition, went to London in July to choose the costumes from the series’ costumier, Cosprop.
“Downton Abbey,” which entered into its fourth season on Masterpiece on PBS this month, depicts life in an aristocratic household of the fictional Earl and Countess of Grantham. It won a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries and seven Emmys, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries.
Viewers of the show will be able to see some favorite fashions in the exhibit: Lady Sybil’s harem pants, Lady Mary’s engagement dress and Lady Edith’s wedding dress. In the exhibit from Winterthur: the servants’ call system, H. F. du Pont’s Saville Row evening jacket and the du Pont family’s 1874 Tiffany silver tea service.
Visitors will also see both “upstairs” and “downstairs” lifestyles, with elegant gowns contrasted with working wear of servants. Visitors will travel through the exhibit chronologically and enter past a working recreation of the bell system at Downton Abbey, seen in the opening credits of the series.
In addition to the costume exhibit, Winterthur will host lectures, workshops and events, including programs for adults and families focusing on entertaining and country house life in Britain and the United States.
Winterthur members will be offered special programs and times of exclusive access throughout the run of Costumes of Downton Abbey. In conjunction with the exhibition, Winterthur will republish, with all new color photography, “Life at Winterthur: A du Pont Family Album.”