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Age of Elegance Exhibition

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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Could you wear these?
Age of Elegance, Age of Elegance Exhibition, Ayers House, Ayers House Museum, National Trust, National Trust of South Australia, Victorian times, exhibition, Victorian costumes
Age of Elegance Exhibition Transports you to Victorian Times With Victorian Costumes (Image: Sia Duff)


People in Victorian times were associated with some very curious habits. Women consumed arsenic pills to appear more youthful, and men did it to stimulate the libido. Many Victorians were captivated by tales of ancient Egypt and the exploration of pyramids for tombs. They were frequently engrossed in the topic of death, and ladies often wore mourning rings. Black was a common colour for ladies' apparel, partly for the practical reason that it didn't show the dirt from pollution.

Despite these quirks, Victorian times were also an age of elegance. The architecture often reflected this with intricate wrought iron lacework, beautifully carved wood, and highly decorative features. Victorian manners were typically formal and highly stylised, and this too was usually seen in their dress.

Age of Elegance, Age of Elegance Exhibition, Ayers House, Ayers House Museum, National Trust, National Trust of South Australia, Victorian times, exhibition, Victorian era
Victorian Era Apparel at The Age of Elegance (Image: Sia Duff)


The National Trust of South Australia has previously held two very successful costume exhibitions at Ayers House Museum: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition, and these popular events are now being followed by the Age of Elegance exhibition.

Sir Henry Ayers loved to throw a party at his glamorous home on North Terrace. This time, you're invited.

Be swept into the luxury, glamour and grace of high society in Victorian-era Adelaide. Ayers House, home of Sir Henry Ayers during South Australia's most glittering decades, is alive again with the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of the most lavish parties ever seen in Adelaide".

Costume designer Marion Boyce is renowned for her re-creations of flamboyant 20th century couture in the screen hits The Dressmaker and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, and has delved back to the 19th century to select men's, women's and children's apparel to display in this new exhibition from the National Trust's own costume collection. These period garments bring stately Ayers House to life in period party splendour for the Age of Elegance exhibition, which runs in Adelaide from March 29 to July 29 2018.

Age of Elegance, Age of Elegance Exhibition, Ayers House, Ayers House Museum, National Trust, National Trust of South Australia, Victorian times, exhibition, Victorian costumes
Victorian Costumes From the National Trust Collection (Image: Sia Duff)


Co-curator, Dr Jill Mackenzie of the National Trust of South Australia says visitors "will feel they have stumbled upon a grand soiree. Invitations to these high-society affairs such as exclusive parties at Ayers opulent mansion were highly prized."

Visitors to the exhibition will see more than 40 period costumes from Victorian times, including four exquisite girls' afternoon tea frocks. Some of the costumes were made in Australia, but the fabric was usually sourced from the United Kingdom and Europe. The setting for Age of Elegance is designed to complement the Art Gallery of South Australia's Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay exhibition covering France's Impressionist painters of the same period.

We can't tell you too much more about this glamorous new exhibition at Ayers House without spoiling it for visitors. However the displays will combine a spectacular detail rarely encountered elsewhere with complete historical accuracy and integrity. It's a major achievement for the National Trust of South Australia, and something that will delight anyone with a passion for our history.

Age of Elegance, Age of Elegance Exhibition, Ayers House, Ayers House Museum, National Trust, National Trust of South Australia, Victorian times, exhibition
The Venue: Ayers House Museum (Image Supplied)


Find out more about this new exhibition at the Ayers House Museum website, or just come and enjoy the show. The Age of Elegance exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am until 4pm, and on Fridays until 9pm. Tickets can be pre-booked online here.

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Why? See the glamour of Victorian era clothing
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm; Fridays till 9pm.
Where: Ayers House Museum, 288 North Terrace, Adelaide
Cost: $20 Adult, $18 Concession, $15 National Trust and AGSA members, $50 Family (2 Adults, up to 3 Children), $12 Student (ages 15 ), $10 Children (ages 5-15), FREE Under 5.
Your Comment
Our Dance group is coming from Brisbane to perform and teach elegant Colonial dance this weekend at Ayres House. [11.00 and 1.00 Saturday I think] Can't wait to see the Marion Boyce exhibition. Come and say hello.
by Lynne Cargill (score: 2|716) 198 days ago
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