Step out in style at Regency fashion exhibition

Judges’ Lodgings (Nilfanion, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Fans of Jane Austen can step back in time at an exhibition which promises to immerse visitors in the fashions of the Regency period.

Located at the Judges’ Lodgings, which is Lancaster’s oldest townhouse, the exhibition — Style and Sensibility: Regency Fashion — offers a rare glimpse into 19th-Century Regency fashions, presenting an array of original attire ranging from dresses to accessories like fans, shoes, bags, and waistcoats, dating from the 1800s to the 1830s.

The event draws inspiration from timeless classics such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility,’  and the displays will feature fashions that defined the era when the Judges’ Lodgings transitioned from a private home to the premises for the Judges of the Assizes Courts.

Museum manager Lynda Jackson said: “A huge thanks to the team here at Judges’ Lodgings for putting together a fantastic exhibition. We can’t wait to see people come through the doors and experience it for themselves.”

At the exhibition, visitors can expect to see a large collection of historic fashion, including walking dresses, morning dresses and ball gowns once worn by affluent women across Lancashire and the Northwest.

The garments on display are not just costumes; they are artefacts accompanied by archival materials, including original fashion plates, letters, and poems.

The exhibition will also delve into the colonial trade connections that are woven into the fabric of the dresses on display, offering a broader context to the fashion narrative.  The Judges’ Lodgings also experienced a surge in visitor numbers throughout 2023, largely attributed to the impactful ‘Facing the Past – Black Lancastrians’ exhibition by Lela Harris.

The ‘Facing the Past’ portraits by Lela Harris will continue to adorn the museum’s walls as permanent exhibits, following their acquisition through funds provided by the Art Fund and the Association of Independent Museums.

This exhibition has been made possible by loans from Harris Museum & Art Gallery and Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery Trust, Carlisle and Lancashire Archives, as well as a generous donation from the Judges’ Lodgings Trust for the conservation work.

The exhibition runs from 27 June to 17 November 2024, and the opening times are  Thurs-Sun 11am-4pm. For more information, visit Style and Sensibility – Regency Fashion exhibition.