Dressing Downton

Downton Abbey (PBS) Season 1, 2010, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, ©Carnival Films / Masterpiece

Dressing Downton at the Paine Art Center and Gardens is probably one of those exhibits that have been long awaited since it was announced it was coming to town. We started getting reservations for this event last summer already. If you have not heard yet, this exhibit started this last weekend. Changing Fashion for Changing Times goes until September 20th so you do have some time, but don’t wait! The exhibit will feature 36 period costumes from the first four seasons of the acclaimed television series, Downton Abbey, which his on track to be the most successful British drama ever aired. The award-winning costumes showcase the styles of post-Edwardian England and the English country estate. Downton Abbey traces the lives and pursuits of the estate’s aristocratic inhabitants, the Crawley family, and their servants during the 1910s and ‘20s. Filming takes place at Highclere Castle, a country estate in Newbury, England.

Dressing Downton explores fashions in Britain from 1912, marked by the sinking of the Titanic, through World War I and into the early 1920s, the dawn of the Jazz Age.

The exhibit focuses on an era of great change, showing the progression of fashions from the bustle to the flapper dress. The variety of ensembles for the Crawley family and their servants range from country tweeds and riding outfits, to servants’ uniforms and footmen’s livery, to delicate afternoon dresses and lavish evening attire crafted of sumptuous fabrics and decorated with intricate embroidery, lace and beading.

The exhibition’s award-winning costumes were produced by the London costume house of Cosprop Ltd. Since 1986, when the Academy Award for Costume Design was awarded to a Cosprop designer for A Room with a View, the company has supplied costumes for 29 nominated films.


This amazing exhibit premiered in early 2015 at the renowned Biltmore estate in North Carolina before heading to Oshkosh where it will be exhibited throughout the rooms of the historic Paine mansion.