And We’re Doing It Again- Off To Bath For 2019

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We had such a good time at the 2018 Prior Attire Victorian Ball in Bath, England that we’re doing it again in 2019! We’ve already secured out tickets and made reservations on Air New Zealand (highly recommended). Sponsored by Prior Attire, a reproduction garment maker in England, the ball is scheduled for May 5, 2019 and will be held at the Bath Assembly Rooms which is a fantastic venue for a ball. We will also be spending some time in London, touring museums and looking for fabrics (and anything else that strikes our fancy).

 

Adam Karin Bath

It promises to be an excellent time and we’re looking forward to being able to take the waters at Bath again (well, maybe we’ll settle for tea…) and of course we’ll be designing new  outfits- stay tuned for more! 🙂

Out And About In Bath- Part 3

Today I decided to change gears a bit and take in Bath’s Georgian Era (1714 – c. 1837) heritage a bit. For starters, I decided to first heap up is the Circus (aka King’s Circus), one of the best surviving examples of Georgian Era architecture. Originally designed by the architect John Wood the Elder, the Circus was were a series of townhouses arranged in three curved blocks, forming a circle surrounding a central park with three entrances:

This picture I borrowed from Wikipedia…

Incidentally, the townhouses are still functioning residences and while their fronts look fairly uniform, the rear of the houses (facing  outside of the circle) are all unique with small yards. Construction on the Circus was started in 1754 and completed in 1768 by Wood’s son, John Wood the Younger.

Here are some pictures that I took:

Bath

Bath

Here’s a picture that gives an idea of the curvature of the townhouses:

Unfortunately, I neglected to get a picture like this so once again, Wikipedia to the rescue…

Definitely impressive.

A short walk away was an even more impressive set of townhouses in the Royal Crescent:

Bath Royal Crescent

Looking towards the Western end of the Crescent.

Bath Royal Crescent

A panoramic view from the east end of the Crescent.

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Another panoramic view.

Bath

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Close-up of some of the houses.

The Crescent (later renamed the Royal Crescent) is a series of 30 terraced townhouses that were designed by John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774. Each townhouse shares a common Neoclassical facade and the original purchaser bought a share of the facade and then designed a house to their own specifications behind it; while the houses may appear to be cookie cutter along the inside curve of the crescent, each house is unique.

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The house at No. 1, Royal Crescent has been restored to its original Georgian state and is now a museum and I took an opportunity to view it:

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View of the front of the house, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Because of the crowds, I was not able to get as many pictures as I wanted so most of what I got was in the servant’s part of the house (the tourists probably found that part boring): 🙂

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Grand staircase looking down. It was a long walk up…the servant’s stairs are worse.

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Head housekeeper’s office

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Ironing

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The kitchen

And no kitchen was complete without the turnspit dog:

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These unfortunate creatures were used to keep spits used for roasting meat turning at all times so that the meat would cook evenly.

With all my explorations, I decided that it was time to take a break…

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Well, that’s all for now! 🙂

Out And About In Bath- Part 2

Walking about in Bath was a pleasant experience and there’s actually a lot to see for such a seemingly small town. Of course, no visit to Bath would be complete without a visit to the actual Roman bath so off to the Roman Baths Bath (yeah, the name’s a bit redundant but it wasn’t my idea). Unfortunately, when I arrived there, the crowds were pretty thick so I had to improvise my camera shots as best I could. The baths themselves are actually about a 100 feet or so below the level today’s street level (needless to say, there’s been a lot of building in Bath since the Romans were there) and when you enter the museum, you actually make your way down before actually viewing the baths proper.

From what I’ve read (for a quick historical overview, click HERE), the Roman baths were built on a natural hot spring that the pre-Roman Celtic inhabitants regarded as a sacred site. The Romans built a reservoir to retain the spring waters and then built the baths around that, upgrading and adding more rooms and buildings over a span of several centuries. Here are a few views from the top as you enter the museum complex:

Roman Bath

Roman Bath

Roman Bath

A few interesting notes- the green color of the water is from algae and today, the baths are not considered safe to swim in, however if you want the experience, it can be done at the modern Thermae Bath Spa which was opened in 2006. The statues that line the upper deck like the one seen in the above picture are actually Victorian Era creations, NOT original statues.

Moving our way down, we get some closer views of the baths:

Roman Bath

Roman Bath Bath

The water from the springs come out from the ground at about 69 to 96 °C (156.2 to 204.8 °F) and flowed through open channels that were meant to cool the water down a bit before entering into the baths themselves. Also, lead pipes were also used to further distribute water to other subsidiary baths:

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The baths were lead-lined and remain so to this day; they’re cleaned out on a quarterly basis:

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And yes, you can still take the waters at Bath…there was a drinking fountain with paper cups available to the public. For hygienic reasons, the water itself comes from a separate hole that’s been drilled into the spring. The thermal waters contain sodium, calcium, chloride and sulphate ions in high concentrations. I sampled the waters and found it to be cloudy warm water with a mineral taste- nothing really surprising (OK, I was less than impressed).

This brief overview doesn’t to justice to the majesty of the place and what’s especially interesting is that is one of a few surviving examples of a Roman bath. Also, the baths here had the advantage that they required no heating up the water- that was all done naturally. Almost all other Roman baths required the constant heating and its attendant costs and logistical issues. This is definitely worth a visit and shouldn’t be missed.

 

 

Out And About In Bath- Part 1

One of the nice things about walking around in the town of Bath is that everything is located in close proximity in the town proper. After having explored the Fashion Museum Bath, we decided to take in the town a bit and while doing so, we came across V V Rouleaux, a shop specializing in ribbons and trim.

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Naturally, we had to check this out….

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And doing a little color matching with the wonderful color chart that they were kind enough to give us: 🙂

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It was a wonderful stop and it was only for the fact that our luggage was overloaded that we didn’t end up buying more to take home with us. 🙂

 

A Trip To The V&A Museum, Part 2

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And now on to the high point of our visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum (besides the bookstore 🙂 ). While there were a number of interesting garments, here are a few that caught our eye. First up is this excellent example of a Mid-Bustle Era princess line dress:

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This one is often cited as a good example of Mid-Bustle Era style. Here are some better pictures from the V&A website:

Day Dress Princess Line V&A 1870 - 1880

Day Dress, c. 1870 – 1880; V&A Museum (CIRC.606-1962)

Day Dress Princess Line V&A 1870 - 1880

Rear View

Here are some closer views:

Day Dress Princess Line V&A 1870 - 1880

Day Dress Princess Line V&A 1870 - 1880

One of the most striking features of this dress is the ruched ivory silk front along with the ruching and knife pleating along the rear hem. The net-covered blue Jacquard silk fabric provides an interesting color counterpoint that makes for a nicely unified design.

Next is this 1885 cotton print day dress:

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And here are a few more views:

Day Dress 1885

Day Dress, 1885; V&A Museum (T.7&A-1926)

Day Dress 1885

Side Profile

 

This dress is a good example of the Mid-1880s day dress and it captures the styles of the era quite nicely with a minimum of trim and detail.

Here’s some of the other interesting garments that were on display:

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Bustle Pad

This bustle pad is often seen in Pinterest and in various costume books. It’s functional simplicity at its best.

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Bodice Interior

This bodice interior gives a nice view “under the hood” of a late Victorian bodice. All the seams are finished either by pinking or whip stitched along the edges. Boning has been carefully installed as well as a petersham belt for added stability and shape.

And outside of the late 19th Century were these items of interest:

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Above is an Mid 19th Century French pannier dress. Although it’s not obvious from the picture, this dress was roughly 8 feet wide or so and built for a very small person, say in the 5’3″ to 5’5″ range.

Next is this ribbon corset from circa 1895:

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Finally, there’s the iconic “wine glass dress” designed by Elsa Schiaparelli:

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Evening coat Place of origin: London (made) Date:1937 (made) Materials and Techniques: Silk jersey, with gold thread and silk embroidery and applied decoration in silk

Is it a wine glass or two people? You be the judge. 🙂

Overall, it was a very illuminating visit and it was nice to see some of the garments that I have only seen in books up to this point. In the next post, we’ll tie everything together with some commentary so stay tuned…. 🙂

To be continued…