Sunday, October 31, 2010

Consulting Curator, Janet Y. Larose, Esq.

Janet and Lawrence Larose are active in the art, fashion and museum communities from New York City to Portsmouth, New Hamsphire and are Strawbery Banke neighbors. The Museum is looking forward to working with this experienced team and were delighted and honored when Janet agreed to become the Consulting Curator for Passion for Fashion.

Consulting curator, Janet Y. Larose, Esq. recently contemplated the significance of fashion over time:

Fashion is a reflection of society’s lives and times. Strawbery Banke's unique textile collection spans centuries of life in New England. It provides us with insight into the customs, manners and daily existence of the individuals who lived there. By exhibiting contemporary fashions with the historical garments that provide their inspiration, Passion for Fashion gives us a new perspective into how the past influences the current. It demonstrates how, while times change, style and taste remains, and indeed abounds.

Please watch these pages for future posts from Janet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sarah's "Lacie" Dress

This just in--designer Sarah Beth Johnson's sketch for her formal dress design, inspired by "Lacie" from the Strawbery Banke Museum collections! Note "ballerina twist", palette, and especially the way Sarah's dress drapes, echoing the original with its cascading layers of satin and tiered lace. Further, Sarah is intrigued by the intricacies of fine boning, reflected in the snug fitting bodice and its proportions. The asymmetrical positioning of the fabrics for the skirt, in combination with the buttons, creates a flattering, feminine vision.

Original artwork by Sarah Beth Johnson, October 2010

Photograph, Ellen McDermott Photography
Design Set Up, Bridget Sciales
Photographed at Goodwin Mansion, September 2010

Sarah studies "Lacie" in the collections work room.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's all about the shoe!

It is safe to say that Silkbrocade is obsessed with this shoe! These are the most recent shots by Ellen McDermott of the Lady's London shoe by James Davis[ies], here shown with its closely matching patten (a silk was used but is slightly different than the shoe itself; the fit indicates it belonged to the same person). Collections intern, Bridget Swift will continue to assist with research on this shoemaker and his production. (Please see earlier blogs.)

Notice the way the patten changes and foreshortens the shoe in profile, and the fit to the shoe. Stunning yet functional.

Photography, Ellen McDermott
Set and Styling, Bridget Sciales
Location, Goodwin Mansion, October 2010

Mabel Decatur Storer's Wedding, Goodwin Mansion, 1884

Mabel Decatur's holiday wedding, December 30th, 1884, must have been a breathtaking event. Her creme gown, of satin silk weave, embroidered floral brocade, and silver and white embroidered thread would have shimmered in the light of the parlor of the Goodwin Mansion. The silk bodice was well-fitted with darts to hold bone stays. Most likely of imported fabric and sent up from Boston (note the original packing case for the gown). The designer was Richard M. Matthews of Boston, clearly a well-trained professional. The gown would have required at least several fittings. The shoes--astonishingly narrow- are a cream satin with all the drama focused on the bows of the same color.

Gift of Alice Decatur Armsden, #1997.167
Gown, photograph, Tara Vose
Shoes, photograph, Bridget Sciales

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Brooches, Caps and Collars: Adornment in Portsmouth Portraits, 1800-1850

Not to be missed!

The Portsmouth Historical Society will present a gallery talk by curator Sandra Rux for the exhibit “Brooches, Caps and Collars; Adornment in Portsmouth Portraits 1800-1860” on Saturday October 30 at 11AM at the John Paul Jones House, 43 Middle St Portsmouth NH. Artists– known and unknown—of the sixteen portraits, will be the focus of this talk. Joseph Greenleaf Cole, the painter of five of the portraits was covered expertly by Tom Hardiman in his July lecture, so we will touch only briefly on his time in Portsmouth. Many of the other paintings are unsigned and some were painted in other cities. Ms. Rux will discuss where the subjects lived after they left Portsmouth and why they might commission portraits by out of town artists—for example the portrait painted of Martha Hooker Rollins from a daguerreotype by an artist in Brazil. This exhibit will close on October 31—make sure not to miss it. The gallery talk is free and open to the public.

For more information call 603 436-8420 or email

Photographs Courtesy Portsmouth Historical Society/John Paul Jones House