Current Gallery: Victorian & Edwardian / victorianedwardian125

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Current Gallery: Victorian & Edwardian / victorianedwardian125



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  • Briony Glassco as Lady Constance Lamson-Scribener wearing a purple ensemble with black detailing in the 1998 mini-series "Berkeley Square."
    • BBC

    Berkeley Square

    1998

    Costume seen on Briony Glassco as Lady Constance Lamson-Scribener

  • Barbara Flynn as Emily Forsyte wearing a purple ensemble with black detailing in the 2002 series "The Forsyte Saga."
    • ITV

    The Forsyte Saga

    2002

    Costume seen on Barbara Flynn as Emily Forsyte

  • Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham wearing a purple ensemble with black detailing in the 2010 series "Downton Abbey."
    • ITV

    Downton Abbey

    2010

    Costume seen on Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

  • Jennifer Saunders as the Dowager Countess of Grantham wearing a purple ensemble with black detailing in the 2011 television special "Comic Relief: Upstairs Downstairs Abbey."
    • BBC

    Comic Relief: Uptown Downstairs Abbey

    2011

    Costume seen on Jennifer Saunders as the Dowager Countess of Grantham

Additional Images

About the Costume

The book The World of Downton Abbey claims that this purple ensemble was created especially for Maggie Smith for the series. Susannah Buxton, the show’s Emmy-winning costume designer, seems to re-affirm this fact in an article by the Hollywood Reporter, where she stated, “all of her costumes are made just for her.” However, it seems more likely that the costume – the dress, blouse, and hat were specially assembled for her, not made from scratch, as this costume very clearly makes earlier appearances. 

The first known sighting of this costume was in 1998 on Briony Glassco as Lady Constance Lamson-Scribener in Berkeley Square. In 2002 it was used again in The Forsyte Saga, where Barbara Flynn wore it as Emily Forsyte. In 2010 it was finally seen on Dame Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in the first season of Downton Abbey. It was used a fourth time on Jennifer Saunders impersonating the Dowager Countess of Grantham in a 2011 Red Nose Day Sketch entitled Uptown Downstairs Abbey. You can view the skit here.

The costume belongs to Cosprop, and you can see a highly detailed view of the costume on their website here.

 

About the Costume

Have you seen this gown somewhere else? Do you need to be given credit for this sighting? Do you have corrections, additions or changes you would like to make?

Have you ever watched a film and noticed a character walk by in a gown that you just know you’ve seen before? Recycled Movie Costumes is dedicated to documenting the life of a costume through its various appearances on film and television.

Additional Images

About the Costume

The book The World of Downton Abbey claims that this purple ensemble was created especially for Maggie Smith for the series. Susannah Buxton, the show’s Emmy-winning costume designer, seems to re-affirm this fact in an article by the Hollywood Reporter, where she stated, “all of her costumes are made just for her.” However, it seems more likely that the costume – the dress, blouse, and hat were specially assembled for her, not made from scratch, as this costume very clearly makes earlier appearances. 

The first known sighting of this costume was in 1998 on Briony Glassco as Lady Constance Lamson-Scribener in Berkeley Square. In 2002 it was used again in The Forsyte Saga, where Barbara Flynn wore it as Emily Forsyte. In 2010 it was finally seen on Dame Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in the first season of Downton Abbey. It was used a fourth time on Jennifer Saunders impersonating the Dowager Countess of Grantham in a 2011 Red Nose Day Sketch entitled Uptown Downstairs Abbey. You can view the skit here.

The costume belongs to Cosprop, and you can see a highly detailed view of the costume on their website here.

 

The book The World of Downton Abbey claims that this purple ensemble was created especially for Maggie Smith for the series. Susannah Buxton, the show’s Emmy-winning costume designer, seems to re-affirm this fact in an article by the Hollywood Reporter, where she stated, “all of her costumes are made just for her.” However, it seems more likely that the costume – the dress, blouse, and hat were specially assembled for her, not made from scratch, as this costume very clearly makes earlier appearances. 

The first known sighting of this costume was in 1998 on Briony Glassco as Lady Constance Lamson-Scribener in Berkeley Square. In 2002 it was used again in The Forsyte Saga, where Barbara Flynn wore it as Emily Forsyte. In 2010 it was finally seen on Dame Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in the first season of Downton Abbey. It was used a fourth time on Jennifer Saunders impersonating the Dowager Countess of Grantham in a 2011 Red Nose Day Sketch entitled Uptown Downstairs Abbey. You can view the skit here.

The costume belongs to Cosprop, and you can see a highly detailed view of the costume on their website here.

 

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  • Jeremy Turner

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Costume Commentary

  1. In The World of Downton Abbey it says the outfit was created for Maggie Smith. The fabric was created by reproducing an Edwardian print onto silk. The design was based on a jacket from that era. The designers used original lace for the edging and cuff detail. The blouse had a lace bow and high neck added. The hat has vintage cotton baubles covered with a fine net dyed to match the suit.

    Perhaps the Berkley Square version is the original Edwardian piece or also copied from a period piece?

      • Yes, the outfit was *put together* for Maggie Smith (and likely the hat was created especially for her), but the dress was already made prior to that, built from custom-printed silk, but for some other production. See Anna’s message below with link to article from the DM. I tend to think that the person quoted in that article was from one of the costume houses, and was specifically referring to when the costume was produced, but was quoted out of context perhaps because Jessica Fellowes misunderstood the context (when she wrote that article for the DM).

    • How bizarre. Thank you so much for sharing!  I mean, it does clearly say the blouse was altered, and the hat was new…but they do talk about the fabric and lace being made for Maggie when they  quite clearly originate from Berkely Square (or earlier).  I wonder if the costume designer said all of this, or if they just made this up for the article? I know there is another article somewhere that the costume designer clearly states that yes, they use recycled costumes, except for Maggie Smith’s, which are all new. That clearly just cannot be the case…maybe with the second season, but certainly not the first! 

      • The article says the “outfit was made for Maggie Smith.”  Well, that’s true (sort of); the pieces were combined together specifically for Smith, and perhaps the hat was made especially for her, and maybe even the blouse. But we know the dress wasn’t.  Perhaps the speaker in that blurb is from Nathan & Berman’s or Cosprop; they probably did have the fabric especially made up, but it wasn’t for Smith.

          •  Yes, you’re very right. The fabric probably was specially made. Just not for her. Very misleading.  Daily Mail?  More like the ‘Daily Fail’, as I’ve heard it called by some Brits. I find that hilarious. 🙂

Comment

Costume Commentary

  1. In The World of Downton Abbey it says the outfit was created for Maggie Smith. The fabric was created by reproducing an Edwardian print onto silk. The design was based on a jacket from that era. The designers used original lace for the edging and cuff detail. The blouse had a lace bow and high neck added. The hat has vintage cotton baubles covered with a fine net dyed to match the suit.

    Perhaps the Berkley Square version is the original Edwardian piece or also copied from a period piece?

      • Yes, the outfit was *put together* for Maggie Smith (and likely the hat was created especially for her), but the dress was already made prior to that, built from custom-printed silk, but for some other production. See Anna’s message below with link to article from the DM. I tend to think that the person quoted in that article was from one of the costume houses, and was specifically referring to when the costume was produced, but was quoted out of context perhaps because Jessica Fellowes misunderstood the context (when she wrote that article for the DM).

    • How bizarre. Thank you so much for sharing!  I mean, it does clearly say the blouse was altered, and the hat was new…but they do talk about the fabric and lace being made for Maggie when they  quite clearly originate from Berkely Square (or earlier).  I wonder if the costume designer said all of this, or if they just made this up for the article? I know there is another article somewhere that the costume designer clearly states that yes, they use recycled costumes, except for Maggie Smith’s, which are all new. That clearly just cannot be the case…maybe with the second season, but certainly not the first! 

      • The article says the “outfit was made for Maggie Smith.”  Well, that’s true (sort of); the pieces were combined together specifically for Smith, and perhaps the hat was made especially for her, and maybe even the blouse. But we know the dress wasn’t.  Perhaps the speaker in that blurb is from Nathan & Berman’s or Cosprop; they probably did have the fabric especially made up, but it wasn’t for Smith.

          •  Yes, you’re very right. The fabric probably was specially made. Just not for her. Very misleading.  Daily Mail?  More like the ‘Daily Fail’, as I’ve heard it called by some Brits. I find that hilarious. 🙂

Comment

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Costume Commentary

  1. In The World of Downton Abbey it says the outfit was created for Maggie Smith. The fabric was created by reproducing an Edwardian print onto silk. The design was based on a jacket from that era. The designers used original lace for the edging and cuff detail. The blouse had a lace bow and high neck added. The hat has vintage cotton baubles covered with a fine net dyed to match the suit.

    Perhaps the Berkley Square version is the original Edwardian piece or also copied from a period piece?

      • Yes, the outfit was *put together* for Maggie Smith (and likely the hat was created especially for her), but the dress was already made prior to that, built from custom-printed silk, but for some other production. See Anna’s message below with link to article from the DM. I tend to think that the person quoted in that article was from one of the costume houses, and was specifically referring to when the costume was produced, but was quoted out of context perhaps because Jessica Fellowes misunderstood the context (when she wrote that article for the DM).

    • How bizarre. Thank you so much for sharing!  I mean, it does clearly say the blouse was altered, and the hat was new…but they do talk about the fabric and lace being made for Maggie when they  quite clearly originate from Berkely Square (or earlier).  I wonder if the costume designer said all of this, or if they just made this up for the article? I know there is another article somewhere that the costume designer clearly states that yes, they use recycled costumes, except for Maggie Smith’s, which are all new. That clearly just cannot be the case…maybe with the second season, but certainly not the first! 

      • The article says the “outfit was made for Maggie Smith.”  Well, that’s true (sort of); the pieces were combined together specifically for Smith, and perhaps the hat was made especially for her, and maybe even the blouse. But we know the dress wasn’t.  Perhaps the speaker in that blurb is from Nathan & Berman’s or Cosprop; they probably did have the fabric especially made up, but it wasn’t for Smith.

          •  Yes, you’re very right. The fabric probably was specially made. Just not for her. Very misleading.  Daily Mail?  More like the ‘Daily Fail’, as I’ve heard it called by some Brits. I find that hilarious. 🙂

Comment