Borne Out With Whalebone

A special fundraising event at Wollaton Hall. Can someone in full Elizabethan dress ascend to the Prospect Room?

A special fundraising event at Wollaton Hall

Wednesday 22nd May 2024 6.45pm-9.30pm

In 2022 the Antiques Roadshow was filmed at Wollaton Hall and expert Hilary Kay was shown a unique survival of Elizabethan dress. For one evening only, the sleeve will be on display as part of a special fundraising event. The farthingale sleeve was an integral part of fashionable women’s dress in the 1590s when both shoulders and hips were widened, in contrast to an elongated narrow waist by being ‘borne out with whalebone’. These exaggerated fashions of the late Elizabethan era have led to the modern belief that women were somewhat immobilised by them and had difficulty fitting through small doorways and spaces.

In the case of Wollaton Hall it has been said that ladies could not access the Prospect Room, which is reached by a small stone spiral staircase, whilst wearing their farthingales.

In this dressing demonstration, organised by Wollaton Historical and Conservation Society, historical costumier Ninya Mikhaila will show how a lady’s outfit was achieved, from the underwear out, using reconstructed garments.

Finally, an experiment will be carried out to see if the model can ascend the stairs once fully dressed! The original farthingale sleeve will be on display as part of this event.

All monies raised will go toward the planned restoration of the ornamental pond in the formal garden at Wollaton Hall.

Tickets are £15.  Price includes a drink and free parking. (Paid-up FoWP members – contact us for a discount code).