Up Close: Costumes of “Downton Abbey” Featured in Exhibition

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"Downton Abbey" Season 2

“Downton Abbey” Season 2

Winterthur, DE—If you are impatiently waiting for Jan. 5, 2014, the debut of Season 4 of “Downton Abbey,” have we got an exhibition for you!

“Costumes of Downton Abbey,” a major exhibition of 40 costumes and accessories worn upstairs and downstairs on the period drama television series will be displayed at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library on March 1, 2014 through January 4, 2015.

The costumes are on loan from Cosprop, a leading costumier to film, television, and theater and the exhibition compares and contrasts the fictional British world of “Downton Abbey” with the real-life American counterpart Winterthur in the first half of the 20th century.

‘Surprisingly Ornate’

“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. Lidz went to London in July to choose the costumes directly from Cosprop.

The exhibition will be organized chronologically and visitors will move through the times of day, both upstairs and downstairs. Visitors will enter past a working recreation of the bell system of “Downton Abbey.” 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 servants’ call system, H. F. du Pont’s Saville Row evening jacket, and the du Pont family’s 1874 Tiffany silver tea service will also be on exhibit. Winterthur will 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.

A co-production of Carnival Films and Masterpiece, “Downton Abbey” depicts life in an aristocratic household of the fictional Earl and Countess of Grantham and is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed period dramas ever produced. It has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries and seven Emmys including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries. It was the most watched television series in both the United Kingdom and United States and subsequently became the most successful British costume drama series since the 1981 television serial “Brideshead Revisited.”

By the third series, it had become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world. The Guinness World Records recognized “Downton Abbey” as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011.