Costuming The Crown exhibit to open at Winterthur March 30

March 29, 2019

From the dazzling gold of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation robe to the simple sophistication of Princess Margaret’s wedding dress, Costuming The Crown at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library will feature 40 iconic costumes from the award-winning drama “The Crown.”

The Netflix Original series, produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television, is a dramatized history of Queen Elizabeth II’s early reign, as the fragile social order established after World War II breaks apart. The exhibition will be on view in the Winterthur Galleries Saturday, March 30, to Sunday, Jan. 5.

Beginning with spectacle and pageantry, Costuming The Crown reveals everything from the majesty of royal crowns and tiaras to the private looks worn by the royal family in quiet moments behind the palace doors. This intriguing exhibition provides a behind-the-scenes look at how costume design is used to complement riveting drama, re-create history, and define characters from the footmen to the queen. Costuming The Crown at Winterthur will be the first global comprehensive exhibition of costumes from the first and second seasons of the series. Visitors can see how  designers Michele Clapton and Jane Petrie worked painstakingly to be authentic in detailing everything from King George’s medals and military ribbons to Queen Elizabeth’s iconic dresses for royal tours.

The exhibit explains the significance and importance of costume design to the story. Visitors will move through four sections in the exhibition.

Establishing Roles explores the transformative nature of costume, looking at ensembles worn for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. With these impressive garments, steeped in history, the young Princess Elizabeth takes on her new role and becomes the queen in much the same way the actors are transformed into their roles through costume.

Dressing the Part explores the replica costumes, based on extensive photographic and video archive research, and considers how clothing signifies status. By looking at a variety of costumes – from a schoolboy uniform and official military uniforms to the exquisite outfits worn to attend a royal wedding – the viewer sees the role of clothing in indicating one’s place in society.

Creating Character investigates scenes in which the costume designers were allowed to interpret the characters’ looks with their own designs and explores private moments in their daily lives.

Though many people are fascinated by royalty, the public sees the royal family only through a narrowly focused lens. Capturing the Image, the final section of the exhibition, looks at clothing worn by the queen and others in actual photographs and on television, highlighting the imagery the royal family chose to assert its status and cultivate its public persona. The exhibition considers the public’s fascination with the British royal family – one that Henry Francis and Ruth du Pont also shared through their interest in, and encounters with, Queen Elizabeth II.

Winterthur, known worldwide for its preeminent collection of American decorative arts, naturalistic gardens and research library for the study of American art and material culture, offers a variety of tours, exhibitions, programs, and activities throughout the year. General admission includes a tour of some of the most notable spaces in the 175-room house as well as access to the Winterthur Garden and Galleries, special exhibitions, a narrated tram tour (weather permitting), the Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens, and the Enchanted Woods children’s garden.

Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors, and $6 for ages 2 to 11. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. 

Winterthur is located on Route 52, six miles northwest of Wilmington, and is closed Mondays. Winterthur is committed to accessible programming for all. For more information, including special services, call 800-448-3883 or go to


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