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Spalding's Ayscoughfee Hall is home to royal treats



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Visitors to a Spalding landmark still have the chance to catch a glimpse of some very special items.

The team at Ayscoughfee Hall are overjoyed to have a stunning presentation sample of the Queen’s coronation dress, designed by Sir Norman Hartnell, on display.

The exciting item is thought to be one of only eleven in the world, and it’s currently in Spalding.

presentation sample of the Queen's coronation dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, at Ayscoughfee Hall (57151487)
presentation sample of the Queen's coronation dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, at Ayscoughfee Hall (57151487)

The royal additions to the museum, which are on loan from private collectors, also include several regal dress design sketches.

Sir Norman, who gained Royal Warrant as dressmaker to both the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, produced presentation samples of the embroideries adorning the coronation dress.

He was best known for designing for royal ceremonial occasions, including the Queen’s wedding dress in 1947.

By the time of the Queen’s accession in 1952, Sir Norman was the Queen’s principal designer and was tasked with creating the coronation dress.

The sample, from 1953, features duchess satin embroidered with real gold and silver threads, colour silk threads, seed pearls, diamante, crystals, gold paillettes and bugle beads.

On the back of the framed sample is a dedication letter to Edie Duley, the head of the embroidery workroom, from Sir Norman himself. A photocopy of this can also be seen in the museum.

presentation sample of the Queen's coronation dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, at Ayscoughfee Hall (57151484)
presentation sample of the Queen's coronation dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, at Ayscoughfee Hall (57151484)

Like many designers, Hartnell used a number of artists to record his initial thoughts in highly finished presentation sketches. The sketches were then usually presented to clients or the press.

On show at Ayscoughfee are the sketches of The Queen’s dress, as well as the Queen Mother’s dress, Princess Margaret’s, the dress of the Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandria and six maids of honour - all worn to the coronation.

There is also a copy of Silver and Gold, Hartnell’s autobiography. The book is a first edition, signed and inscribed by the author.

These items are on show until the end of June.



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