Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This is one of Her Majesty's big occasion gowns being readied for the Bendigo Exhibition. The photo shows the low satin bow at the back. The black gown to the left belonged to Princess Margaret and has the most beautiful jewelled shoulder straps.

This is a sample panel of the embroidery design by Norman Hartnell. The gown was made for a state visit to France in 1957. On a bouffant skirt in ivory Duchess satin, the emblems of France were embroidered in sparkling topaz, white and coffee coloured pearls, tiny amber beads, silver sequins, moulded golden acorn cups with an amber pearl acorn.
Representing the flowers of the fields are poppies and marguerites, acorns and sheaves of wheat represent the harvest and the two bees with pearly wings represent Napoleon's symbol of industry.
Maureen Markham, one of Hartnell's team of embroiderers who spent 3 weeks working on the gown, hoped that The Queen always sat on plush chairs so that the embroidery did not get squashed. The embroidery on the actual dress became more elaborate, building on the basic sample design.

It really is an occasion gown and worthy of its royal status.


Jayne said...

Almost looks like a Lyre birds' tail feathers.
Absolutely beautiful *sigh*.

River said...

Yes,but does it wash'n'wear well?

Ann oDyne said...

where's me bloody Photo Credit?

I endured the Gallery STASI to get that! oh what I went through, just to prop up your fabulous post.

JahTeh said...

What you went through O'Dyne! She used Antikva and me as shields for her nefarious doings and right under the security camera. James O'Dyne, shaken and stirred.

River, The Queen doesn't do dirty. She did wear it a 2nd time in 1960 so that was a lot of use. One ironing will take 7 years of life out of a dress an excuse I use often.

Jayne, photographs, even one taken by Annie O'Leibowitz, couldn't do it justice. I keep saying you should have been there.

Middle Child said...

ve always been a bit of a tomboy re clothes, but secretly loved dresses like this...once I had a strapless dress...i felt like a queen in it...but it was just a dress compared to this lot...still good memories

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

It doesn't have armpits, that dress, which helps with the not-getting-dirty. I could wash half as often if my shirts had extractable armpit panels. (Oh, yes, I'm charming.)

JahTeh said...

Therese, I've always loved dresses like these but never had the figure for them but the Princess Line was invented for me, lovely.

Baron, little pads sewn into the dress under the armpits soaked up noxious aromas and were washed but not the dress. There must have been some serious depilation going on though to wear this with confidence.