Winterthur To Open Major New Exhibition "Costuming 'The Crown'"

Exhibit Will Be The First Global Comprehensive Exhibition Of Costumes From The First Two Seasons Of The Hit Netflix Show

January 11, 2019

From the dazzling gold of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation robe to the simple sophistication of Princess Margaret’s wedding dress, “Costuming ‘The Crown’” at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library will feature 40 iconic costumes from the beloved Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama “The Crown.” The Netflix Original series, produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television, is a dramatized history of Queen Elizabeth II’s early reign, as the fragile social order established after the Second World War breaks apart. The exhibition will be on view in the Winterthur Galleries from March 30, 2019, to Jan. 5, 2020.
Beginning with spectacle and pageantry, “Costuming ‘The Crown,’” reveals everything from the majesty of royal crowns and tiaras to the private looks worn by the royal family in the quiet moments behind the palace doors. This intriguing exhibition provides a behind-the-scenes look at how costume design is used to complement riveting drama, re-create history, and define characters from the footmen to the queen. “Costuming ‘The Crown’” at Winterthur will be the first global comprehensive exhibition of costumes from the first and second seasons of the series. Visitors can see how Emmy- and BAFTA-winning designers Michele Clapton and Jane Petrie worked painstakingly to be authentic in the detailing of everything from King George’s medals and military ribbons to Queen Elizabeth’s iconic dresses for royal tours.
“Costuming ‘The Crown’” explains the significance and importance of costume design to the story. Visitors will move through four sections in the exhibition, beginning with “Establishing Roles,” which explores the transformative nature of costume, looking at the ensembles worn for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. With these impressive garments, steeped in history, the young Princess Elizabeth takes on her new role and becomes the queen in much the same way the actors are transformed into their roles through costume.
“Dressing the Part” explores the replica costumes, based on extensive photographic and video archive research, and considers how clothing signifies status. By looking at a variety of costumes from a schoolboy uniform and official military uniforms to the exquisite outfits worn to attend a royal wedding, we see the role of clothing in indicating one’s place in society.
“Creating Character” investigates scenes in which the costume designers were allowed to interpret the characters’ looks with their own designs and explores private moments in their daily lives.
Though many of us are fascinated by royalty, we see the royal family only through a narrowly focused lens. “Capturing the Image,” the final section of the exhibition, looks at clothing worn by the queen and others in actual photographs and on television, highlighting the imagery the royal family chose to assert its status and to cultivate its public persona. The exhibition considers our fascination with the British royal family, one that H. F. and Ruth du Pont also shared through their interest in, and encounters with, Queen Elizabeth II.
Critics have lauded “The Crown,” which has received 26 nominations for Primetime Emmy awards and multiple Golden Globes awards in its first two seasons, including Best Drama. Based on the award-winning play, “The Audience,” the series reunites creator/writer Peter Morgan (“The Queen,” “Frost/Nixon”) with director Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot,” “The Hours”) and producer Andy Harries (“The Queen”). “The Crown,” a series that is unprecedented in its scale, ambition, and creative vision, chronicles the major political and global events from the late 1940s until mid-1960s in seasons one and two. Season three is in production and will air on Netflix in 2019. Both costume designers featured in the exhibition won the Emmy for Outstanding Period Costumes and the Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Period Television for their work on the show, Michele Clapton in 2017 for season one and Jane Petrie in 2018 for season two. The exhibition invites visitors to see the role the designers’ decisions played in creating costumes for seasons one and two of this award-winning production.
Winterthur, located on Route 52, six miles northwest of Wilmington, Del., and five miles south of U.S. Route 1, is closed on Mondays (except during Yuletide), Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Winterthur is committed to accessible programming for all. For information, including special services, call 800-448-3883, 302-888-4600 or TTY 302-888-4907 or visit
“The Crown” is produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television for Netflix.
Images courtesy Alex Bailey/Netflix Inc. and Robert Viglasky/Netflix Inc.


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