Lunchtime Lecture Series: Downton Within, Downton Beyond
12:15–1:15 pm, Copeland Lecture Hall
Our series of lectures offers an opportunity to consider the artful presentation of television fiction as well as the varying histories, values, issues, and clothing of Downton Abbey's evolving eras. Members free. Included with admission.
“Below Stairs Before Downton: Comic Servants in English Fiction”
Brian McCuskey, Associate Professor of English, Utah State University
Meet the parents and grandparents of Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Anna, Bates, Daisy, and Thomas! This talk will explore literary influences on Downton Abbey, introducing us to the comic—and sometimes criminal—servants who populate the kitchens and back stairways of English fiction, from Dickens to P. G. Wodehouse.
“The Well-Dressed Modern Rebel: Lady Edith Crawley vs. Rebecca West as Journalists, Unwed Mothers, and Fashion Plates”
This talk will focus on two modern women who broke the rules: one wholly fictional (Julian Fellowes's "Lady Edith"), the other a real woman named Cicely Fairfield (1892–1983), who recreated herself as "Rebecca West" and who, late in life, was made Dame of the British Empire. Comparing their experiences from WWI through the 1920s as writers and as women who had children out of wedlock—with married men as the fathers in both cases—Margaret D. Stetz, Mae & Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies Professor of Humanities, University of Delaware, will consider the social and professional realities that are reflected in Downton Abbey. She will explore the role that clothes played in the lives of these two figures, who may have kicked against gender and class conventions, but who never questioned the necessity of being beautifully dressed.
“Yes, My Lord: America’s Love Affair with English Television”
It’s no surprise that so many Americans have taken Downton Abbey to their hearts. The series, already popular in England, has followed a long line of English imports in taking the colonies by storm. Beneath this conquest, however, lie a number of provocative questions: What kinds of English television shows have been most successful in the states, and why? What’s the relation between English programs like Downton Abbey and television adaptations of classic English novels? If Americans are so interested in watching literary adaptations and period drama on television, why haven’t we made our own? And how does the anglophilia of American audiences compare to that of their cousins across the Atlantic? Tom Leitch, Professor of English, University of Delaware, considers the phenomenon of Downton Abbey in the context of television ancestors from Upstairs, Downstairs to Brideshead Revisited and why the series has been so successful in America, and what our love for it reveals about us.
“Unexpected Hats, and Other Adventures in Creating Winterthur's Costumes of Downton Abbey”
How did we turn 40 costumes from a London prop house into a destination for Downton fans? Not without some adventure along the way! Amy Marks Delaney, associate curator of exhibitions, gives a behind-the-scenes peek at the many surprises, discoveries, and creative decisions behind Costumes of Downton Abbey, from re-creating the iconic servants’ bells and Matthew's romantic proposal, to the arrival of some unexpected accessories.
Behind the Seams with Hollywood and TV Industry Insiders: A Costume Design Lecture Series
The successful portrayal of the characters and story lines you love are the result of a design process that includes research, ingenuity, and craftsmanship. Please join us for a series of talks featuring award-winning costume designers linked to such impressive creative projects as Downton Abbey, Mad Men, Saturday Night Live, The Hunger Games, True Blood, Deadwood, House of Cards, and more. Copeland Lecture Hall. To purchase tickets for one lecture or the entire series, please call 800.448.3883. $15 per Member. $25 per nonmember. Series: $48 per Member. $80 per nonmember. Reservations required.
“Behind the Seams: Perspectives on Costume Design of Downton Abbey”
October 26, 11:30 am and 2:30 pm
Please join us for a panel discussion as Emmy award-winners Susannah Buxton and Caroline McCall discuss inspirations and challenges, period and newly designed fabrics, their team, wardrobe malfunctions, and dressing the different characters and iconic actors of the show—upstairs and down! Susannah Buxton is a BAFTA, Emmy, and Costume Designers' Guild award-winning costume designer who has enjoyed a highly successful career in film and television. Susannah has worked with acclaimed directors including Kenneth Branagh, Danny Boyle, and Stephen Poliakoff. Her recent credits include Burton and Taylor and Downton Abbey.
"Culture and Costume: 40 Years of SNL"
November 4, 6:00 pm
Tom Broecker, a six-time, Emmy-nominated costume designer, has been a creative force behind Saturday Night Live for over 20 years. In addition to his work on SNL, Tom created the sophisticated wardrobes on House of Cards and has worked on Broadway plays and film projects. During this lecture Tom will focus on the pop culture, inspiration, and use of the costumes on SNL to illustrate how instrumental the costumes are to the characters and hosts.
"Costume Design: Inspiration and Influence"
November 18, 6:00 pm
Mad Men debuted on AMC in 2007 and has captivated viewers by its style as well as its drama and acting. Janie Bryant, Emmy-winning costume designer for the series, will talk about how she finds inspiration for characters from movies, magazines, advertisements, and catalogs of the eras the show spans, as well as the use of color, detail, fit, and style to create the characters in the show. Costume design helps tell a story about the characters, their evolution, and the changing world in which they live. Bryant has received national and international acclaim for her work on the series and as a style setter. She was also the costume designer on HBO’s western-themed series Deadwood, for which she was honored with three Emmy nominations and a win in 2005. This year Bryant has received another Emmy nomination for her work on Mad Men. Join Janie for an intriguing look into her inspirations and influence in costume design and her work on the critically acclaimed hit series Mad Men.
"Form and Function: Film's Uniuque Considerations for Successful Costume Design"
November 25, 6:00 pm
Gina Scarnati has worked on blockbuster films such as The Hunger Games and Snow White and the Huntsman, the hit HBO series True Blood and presently Captain America: The Winter Soldier. During this lecture she will examine the costume design process from conceptualization to realization. Through the exploration of various films, Scarnati will illustrate how vitally important costumes are to the development of the story line.
Additional Downton Abbey Lectures
"Ugbrooke: A Robert Adam Country House Restored"
Tuesday, October 14
Copeland Lecture Hall, 6:00 pm
Join Lady Clifford of Chudleigh as she takes us on a journey through the history of Ugbrooke, home of the Cliffords since 1604. Learn about the commissioning of Robert Adam to remodel the house in the 1760s, treasures found in restorations of Ugbrooke, the transformation of rooms over the years via restoration and conservation, and much more. $15 per Member. $25 per nonmember.
“A Line Unbroken: Inheriting the English Country House”
Thursday, November 20
6:00 pm, Copeland Lecture Hall
Most Royal Oak members and supporters would agree that the country houses of England are chief among its crowning glories. Historian and Goodwood House Curator James Peill will illustrate English houses dating from medieval times to the early 20th century that have passed by inheritance and never been sold. In some cases, these houses remarkably have been in the same family for over 1,000 years. Mr. Peill’s discussion encompasses the medieval Kentchurch Court in the Welsh Marches, which was built as a fortified manor house for the Scudamore family, and the delightful Gothic Revival Prideaux Place in Cornwall, the ducal palace Badminton, and the late 18th-century Hackthorn Hall. Within these walls, stories have unfolded that have become a part of English history but also rival the narratives played out in BBC miniseries dramas. Mr. Peill will describe these houses owned by both the aristocracy and the gentry along with familial chapels and churches. The owners’ taste and status are revealed through these extraordinary interiors filled with beautiful decorative objects and featuring wood paneling, opulent textiles, and plasterwork ceilings. Based on his recent book The English Country House, Mr. Peill will give a glimpse into what life was like for centuries-old families and will reveal how their lives remain present through glorious interiors and mundane everyday items such as trunks in attics, bundled letters tied with faded ribbons, old photograph albums and visitors’ books, and faded curtains. $15 per Member. $25 per nonmember. Book signing to follow.