Thursday 12 November 2009 by Emma Jones. 7 comments
Conservation, Of love and war, Exhibition, Conservation, Love and war, Of Love and War

Back in September, I was doing some work out at our Treloar Annex, which is where our conservators work.  I was videoing the construction process of the mannequins being made for the 3 wedding dresses  that are to be included in the “Of love and war” exhibition. During a break in filming I got talking to Jessie Firth, who was working on one of the wedding dresses .  She was applying fake perspiration to material to see what effect it would have.  Picking up my trusty camera, I went down to the conservation lab and the following is an interesting account of just what 65 year old perspiration can do to a wedding dress and how conservators plan to tackle the problem it presents.  



Very interesting. Would love to see a follow up on the results of the tests and how/if they managed to remove the stains from the dress

Emma Jones says:

Hi Melinda. The curators of the exhibition have decided to leave the stains on the dress, as it was worn by 5 other women during wartime. Material was hard to get hold of, due to fabric rationing. Rebecca Britt, the curator of the exhibition stated "It shows that six women wore this, and there's such emotion involved in getting married, that we thought this is authentic, we need to keep it". The dress has, of course, been carefully conserved and cleaned and will go on exhibition next week. Jessie Firth has kept detailed records of the treatment she gave the dress and will write a blog post on it at a late date.

Tracy Everett

How fascinating to see this process. As Jessie's experiments showed such rapid staining (and I ask this with no disrespect intended), does that mean the very first bride would have had green arm-pits as she signed the register?

Sharon Doig

Hi Tracy, I am the president of the ACT Sub-chapter of the Australian Costumers Guild. Is it possible to arrange a behind the scenes tour of your collection? Love to know if it's possible. Please respond via email. Thanks. Sharon Doig ACT Contact Australian Costumers Guild e:

Emma Jones says:

Hi Sharon, I will pass on your request to the relevant conservators and curators. Regards Emma Jones

Emma Jones says:

Hi Tracy, I am happy to report that there were no green armpits on the wedding day. The green stains started to appear once the metallic threads in the dress began to age. Cheers Emma Jones

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