JANE Austen’s House in Chawton, near Alton – Austen’s home for the last eight years of her life and where she lived, wrote and published her novels – is displaying the iconic white shirt worn by Colin Firth in the beloved 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as part of a new exhibition on Regency underwear.
Jane Austen Undressed showcases rare examples of Regency undergarments, such as petticoats and stockings, alongside iconic pieces from TV and film adaptations.
Elizabeth Bennet’s petticoat – made famous by its “six inches deep in mud”, also from the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice – nestles up to Emma Woodhouse’s stays, worn by Anya Taylor Joy in the 2020 film adaptation of Emma. These garments come from Cosprop, one of the world’s leading costumiers for film, TV and theatre.
Sophie Reynolds, curator at Jane Austen’s House, said: “Regency clothing was built on layers of foundation garments – chemises, stays and petticoats which gave their dresses shape, kept them warm and preserved their modesty.
“These articles of clothing are rarely mentioned in Jane Austen’s novels, but all her characters would have been wearing them and Jane herself would have known, sewn and worn them every day of her life.
“This display showcases some intimate pieces that Regency ladies would have been very familiar with – enabling us to see up close how Regency women got dressed.”
Lizzie Dunford, director at Jane Austen’s House, said: “We can’t wait to share this exciting and fascinating display with our visitors here at Jane Austen’s House.
“Our curator Sophie has expertly blended beautiful antique Regency clothing with modern costumes – including that iconic white shirt – to create a stunning display, which allows us to peek, with great respectability, beneath those famous muslin dresses.”
Jane Austen Undressed will run until October 2. Entry is automatically included with House admission.
An online version of the exhibition is also available.
Jane Austen’s House is currently open every weekend from 10am to 5pm.
The House will be open for the entire Easter weekend and running a family-friendly Great Easter Bonnet Hunt.
The house will open five days a week from May 4, following the completion of vital restoration work to the roof.
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