La Belle Époque: French Design in Maymont’s Gilded Age Mansion
Special Exhibition and Tours
Tuesdays-Sundays, March 15-July 14, 12-5pm, Maymont Mansion
Throughout the nineteenth century, Americans considered French design to be the height of fashion and good taste, influencing everything from furniture and room décor to high-style clothing and cuisine. Visit Maymont Mansion to discover the extensive collection of French decorative arts acquired by James and Sallie Dooley for their 1893 home. Guests will delight in the two sumptuous drawing rooms based on the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles, as well as the fine French-made porcelain, furniture, sculpture, textiles, and decorative objects that fill the mansion. A Don Quixote tapestry, woven by the Gobelins Manufactory in late eighteenth century Paris and recently conserved, is a treasured highlight of this unique tour. Acquired by James Dooley in 1910, the tapestry was one of his prized possessions, now returned to public view for the first time in many years. Guests also will have the opportunity to see an exquisite ball gown by the House of Worth, the famous Parisian couturier, on loan to represent the type of French fashion known to have been worn by Mrs. Dooley. Guided tours available every half-hour; last tour begins at 4:30pm. $5 donation. (Fee required for special interest tours.) For information, call 804-358-7166, ext. 329.
French Fashion of the Gilded Age
A lecture and reception sponsored by the Maymont Council
Presented by Kristen Stewart, The Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costume and Textiles, The Valentine
Tuesday, March 19, 6pm, Garden Hall
Inspired by the House of Worth gown on loan to Maymont from the Liberty Hall Museum in New Jersey, The Valentine’s Kristen Stewart will draw upon her wide-ranging experience and knowledge of historical fashion and textiles to explore the influence of French fashion during the Gilded Age. Wealthy Americans knew a gown from the House of Worth, established in Paris in 1858 by Englishman Charles Worth, was the ultimate in haute couture in Sallie Dooley’s day. When speaking of his adoring clientele, Monsieur Worth remarked, “they have faith, figures and francs – faith to believe in me, figures that I can put into shape, francs to pay my bills.” In 1898, Richmond newspapers reported that Mrs. Dooley hosted a reception adorned in “an exquisite Worth gown of white satin embroidered in silver, court train of Nile green satin and chiffon, and chiffon sash caught with rhinestones.” Ms. Stewart’s richly illustrated presentation will demonstrate why the Gilded Age in France is known as La Belle Époque – the beautiful era. A reception follows the lecture. $15 per person/$10 members. Register online; for information, call 804-358-7166, ext. 329.