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12 Sep 2012 - 17 Nov 2012

Many Nations: The Schwarzenberg Collection of Costume Miniatures from Cesky Krumlov Castle

Handel House Museum and the Schwarzenberg Collection from Cesky Krumlov Castle, Czech Republic present an exhibition of miniature paintings depicting fashion garments and costumes from ‘Many Nations’. There are 60 miniature gouache paintings which depict beautifully dressed peasants, clergymen, noblemen, courtesans, harlequins and more. The miniatures served as an inspiration for disguises worn at masked balls, and were commissioned by Prince Ferdinand Eusebius Schwarzenberg (1652-1703). This extraordinary Collection is being exhibited outside the Czech Republic for the first time.



Masked balls were a significant part of aristocratic entertainment in the 17th and 18th Centuries and this is where the collection stems from. Prince Ferdinand Eusebius Schwarzenberg, a German-Bohemian nobleman, would often visit France and though he was not particularly concerned with fashion, it was expected of someone of his breeding to be informed on such matters. In around 1690 he purchased some fashion prints from the Bonnart family workshop in Paris and it was these prints that inspired him to commission from an unknown artist this extraordinary collection of 60 gouache paintings on parchment.
In 18th century London masked balls were held at the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket, on the very stage where many of Handel’s operas and oratorios were first performed. Those attending would wear costumes similar to those depicting beautifully dressed peasants, clergymen, noblemen, courtesans, harlequins and more in this unique collection.

The exhibition is curated by Kateřina Cichrová from the Czech National Heritage Institute and kindly supported by the Idlewild Trust.

Opening times: Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 6pm (until 8pm Thursday); Sunday: 12pm - 6pm
The Museum entrance is around the back of Brook Street in Lancashire Court.



Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HB


From: 12 Sep 2012
To: 17 Nov 2012


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