The grant of £180,693 will allow the Museum to employ an Assistant Keeper of Fashion and Textiles, plus a Textiles Conservator, both of whom will play a vital role in expanding the curatorial and conservation work of the gallery.
Working alongside Joanna Hashagen, the Museum’s Keeper of Fashion & Textiles, the pair will assist in staging iconic exhibitions - for which the gallery has earned a glowing reputation – as well as conducting research and contributing to the essential management of the existing collection and any future acquisitions.
They will play significant roles in the care of items, including the internationally important Blackborne Lace Collection - donated to the Museum in 2006 by the descendants of Anthony and Arthur Blackborne, who were master lace dealers in 19th century London.
A stunning lace collar from this collection, reputed to have belonged to King Charles I, was among eight items of lace loaned for the In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, earlier this year, viewed by over 134,000 visitors.
“This was particularly pleasing, as The Queen’s Gallery is known as the place where the Royal Collection is displayed; they do not normally borrow from other collections,” said Mrs Hashagen.
Working closely together, the post-holders will select and prioritise items for display in the Fashion & Textile Gallery, taking into account historical importance while weighing up conservation needs.
This will give greater access to parts of the collection which have never before been on show to the public. They’ll also work towards rotating the displays, both for the benefit of visitors and for conservation reasons. In addition, opportunities will be created for teaching and research, as well as the offering of support to other regional museums without such provision.
“In establishing these posts the Museum, with this generous support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is investing in the future of a gallery which since its opening in 2010 has become the leading one of its type in the UK,” Mrs Hashagen added.
The gallery - which represents the wide range of the collection, including dress, European silks, tapestries, embroidery, lace and quilts, housed in glass cases which can be viewed from all sides – is both spectacular, using the latest display ideas and materials, and serious, by ultimately providing easy access to study the collections.
The displays illustrate the use of textiles in fashionable dress and historic design from the 16th to the late 20th Century.
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