American Estate to Host Downton Abbey

The Winterthur Museum Garden & Library in Delaware will play host to DowntonAbbey’s Crawleys, or a least some of their clothes, in 2014 and 2015.

The “Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibition, which will take place from March 1, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015, will compare and contrast the fictional British world of Downton Abbey with a real-life American counterpart, Winterthur, in the first half of the 20th century.

Forty costumes and accessories worn both upstairs and downstairs in the ITV period drama will be on display in the American country estate’s galleries, on loan from the TV series’ costumier, Cosprop.

The exhibition will be organized chronologically, letting visitors move through the times of day. Servants' uniforms and livery are contrasted with elegant tweeds, sumptuous tea gowns and elaborate evening clothes. Among the highlights will be Lady Sybil's harem pants, Lady Mary's engagement dress and Lady Edith's wedding dress.

"The first time I looked at the costumes up close, I was amazed at the incredible detail. They are surprisingly ornate. This is going to be one of the most beautiful exhibitions ever held at Winterthur," says Maggie Lidz, one of the three co-curators of the exhibition.

Visitors will enter past a working recreation of the bell system of Downton Abbey, with the servants' call system, H. F. du Pont's Saville Row evening jacket and the du Pont family's 1874 Tiffany silver tea service also be on display.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Winterthur will also host a wide range of lectures, workshops and events, including programs for adults and families focusing on entertaining and country house life in Britain and the United States. Winterthur will also republish, with all new color photography, its book, Life at Winterthur: A du Pont Family Album.

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