American History Page-Brunch Feature

I don’t look like a regular guest abroad. I’m not crazy to see all the tourist places like museums, zoos, architectural wonders, statues, caves and historical monuments, armed with a camera that clicks feverishly so that everything new can be recorded in a chronicle. But when my daughter Christina, during my many visits to the United States, proposed to break my rule and visit Winterthur, Delaware, the estate of the late Henry Francis du Pont, I decided to follow her advice.

The Cottage Tea Room had old world charm and a menu with a variety of teas and guided tours with spicy and sweet snacks.

Winterthur (pronounced Wintertour) is a huge estate of almost 1,000 hectares with a 60 hectare garden (classified as one of the largest gardens in the United States), while the huge library is a real treasure for researchers. And there is a fantastic museum with many exhibitions.

Public donation

In 1951 the collector and gardener Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) decided to open his children’s home to the public. It’s been open ever since. It took a whole day to visit every nook and cranny of this beautiful building, which houses a collection of almost 90,000 objects made or used in America between 1640 and 1860. The objects on display in the 175-room palace house where the du Pont family lived now have several permanent and several temporary exhibition rooms.

The Winterthur Museum presents royal robes from the Krone
television series (
Meher Castelino
).

The most majestic costumes of the Crown were the imperial robe, the superunicas, the royal flight and the dress worn by the actress Claire Foy during the coronation ceremony.

To visit the entire area, we took the open tramway with several places, which took us on a 30-minute tour of the area, where centuries-old trees and flowers from all over the world have been carefully cultivated. We walked along hills, streams, forests and gardens – it was like a magical wonderland. For the children, there were enchanted forests that took them to fairytale land, while the azalea forest, an eight-hectare visual delight, was a dream come true.

Our stop at the museum, the old country house of Dupont, was the start of a dream journey. During a walk through 175 rooms, the historic architecture and collections of antiques and objects are fascinated by their splendour.

Abbey souvenir shop in the museum – a treat for lovers of the
exhibition (
Meher Castelino
).

I walked through rooms full of rare objects, such as a collection of colourful crockery, which was beautifully displayed. The large blanket explains the quilting techniques from earlier times. An amazing collection of countless chairs of different shapes, sizes and models has revealed the evolution of this modest piece of furniture. The exhibition of porcelain dolls from all over the world showed the colour and creativity of the artists. And there were rooms full of watches, jewelry, paintings, antique costumes, objects and textiles.

Tea room in the cabin and museum shops

In Winterthur, visitors could visit the tea room of the hut from 11.30 to 14.30 and then the museum shops opposite. The Cottage Tea Room had that quirky old world charm with a menu that offered a variety of teas and tours of delicious spicy and sweet snacks. It was all very colonial in the area. At the beginning of the service there was a glass of champagne or sparkling cider, followed by various sandwiches, cakes and chocolate. It should be a pleasant event that takes place in the afternoon in a place that is considered a special place for birthdays, holidays and meetings.

Picturesque image of the abbey in the centre of town in museum
(
Meher Castellino
).

The museum shops in front of the main museum were a real treasure for antique lovers. The range of jewellery, seasonal decorations, gifts, home and garden items, clothing and books and purchases support Winterthur’s educational activities.

Library

The collection of books and periodicals includes an astonishing 100,000 volumes, including almost 20,000 rare American and European prints. The collection offers information on American household objects, decorative arts and design from the 17th to the 20th century. History of American painting, architecture, children’s books, craft techniques, women’s magazines, literature, lifestyle books, travel guides – they were all aimed at book lovers.

Costume Shows

Besides visiting the beautiful country house Winterthur, my main goal to visit this beautiful country was to see exhibitions of costumes from the British series. My favourite exhibitions are the Downton Abbey Costume Collection, which I saw in 2014, and Costuming The Crown in 2019. The videos show the process of making the television series and the costumes of the main characters, as well as the research work they contain.

Abbey in the city centre

As a fashion editor, I was in paradise when I went through the Downton Abbey design folder, which went from the beginning. March 2014 at 4 o’clock. January 2015 was shown. I was amazed by the research Caroline McCall did from 1922 to 1926 on the basis of photographs and paintings. In 2014 she received the 16th prize. Costumers Guild Award for the series.

The museum has an amazing collection of chairs of different shapes, sizes and finishes
(
Meher Castelino
).

Dressing up the 20 main characters of the television series was a big challenge, as the costumes ranged from evening dresses to beautiful dresses, tuxedos, jackets with fur collars and cuffs, wedding dresses, hunting, cricket and tennis equipment, as well as uniforms for maids, house staff, cooks and butlers. From 2010 to 2014, which was launched in the series, the costumes evolved according to the trends of the time.

The museum also presents a metal exhibition with interesting pieces
(
Meher Castelino
).

The disguise of Oscar winner Shirley McLane and the incredible diva Maggie Smith was an experience for Caroline McCall. In the years 1912-14 the silhouettes changed from old dresses of a certain size to corsets, and then in 1919 to asymmetrical hems and sizes. Since Shirley McLean’s character is of American origin, her clothes are luminous, while the face of Maggie Smith’s widow focuses on the shapes that match her role.

The crown jewels can also be seen in the exhibition
(
Meher Castelino
).

Of course, the gift shop was a milestone that many could not resist, as it offered dying fans of the series the opportunity to buy jewelry, gloves, hair dresses, jackets, books, a hat and even a toilet magnet!

Crown

Winterthur is a spacious mansion with a garden of 60 acres, classified as one of the largest gardens in the United States, and also has a huge library!

The costume show for the Emmy Award-winning drama Corona lasted from 30 to 60 minutes. March 2014 at 5 o’clock. January 2020. Designers Michelle Clapton (for season 1; she also won an Emmy Award for five seasons of The Game of Thrones) and Jane Petrie (designer for season 2) researched the original sets of British designer Norman Hartnell and presented replicas for the series. Particularly majestic were the imperial dress, the supertunicas, the royal flight and the dress that the actress Claire Foy wore as Queen Elizabeth during the coronation ceremony. The ensemble for the coronation ceremony, worn by actor Matt Smith, who played Prince Philippe, consisted of a dress of raspberry silk velvet and an ermine coat with black tails on four rows. The tails had to point out the title – Prince Philippe was the duke.

Dresses worn by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret for the
crown (
Meher Castelino
)

Michelle Clapton designed the wedding dress, the tiara, the veil and the bouquet of Princess Elizabeth, on which a team of six embroiderers worked ten hours a day for seven weeks. The hand embroidered original is made by Norman Hartnell. The wedding dress, the veil, the tiara and the bouquet for Princess Marguerite, designed by Jane Petrie, are the originals of Norman Hartnell.

Sumptuous crown dresses
(
Meher Castelino
).

Every year Winterthur has something exciting and interesting to offer as part of the annual program and even a membership program for lovers of art, books, fashion and nature.

The tearoom of the cottage breathes the charm of the old world
(
More Kastelinov
)

(Author biography: Myr Castellino was the first beauty queen of India. She is a fashion journalist, has contributed to several publications and is also the author)

From 17. May 2020

 

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