Jane Austen’s world

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1 June–1 October 2017
Historical and dizzying castle environments as if taken from an Austen novel with film costumes that have been worn by actors Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Costumes that are for many eternally linked with characters like Elizabeth Bennet and Mister Darcy. In the exhibition Jane Austen’s world, the costumes open the doors to descriptions of lifestyle, dilemmas and fashion around 1800.
 Dolls dressed in historical costumes.
Photo: Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM (CC BY)

Skokloster meets Jane Austen

The historical framework of Skokloster Castle was a perfect place for an exhibition that told of a time coloured by magnificent fashions, restricted female roles and strict etiquette. The iconic costumes from the filming of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Emma were moved for a time to the guest room floor at Skokloster Castle, which is furnished with furniture from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This gave a unique opportunity to visit parts of the castle that are not normally open to the public.

Magnificent Fashions in a Historical Setting

The exhibition included Marianne Dashwood’s fantastic wedding dress from the filming of Sense and Sensibility, when she was played by Kate Winslet, and not least Mister Darcy’s once soaking wet shirt from the BBC series Pride and Prejudice, as played by Colin Firth.

Photo: Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM (CC BY)

Jane Austen - Always Current

Jane Austen is one of the world’s most read authors and her almost 200 year old novels are more popular than ever. There are always new editions, interpretations, dramatisations and cinematisations of her work. In her works Austen succeeded in combining a light pen with sharp social criticism hidden under emotion-charged intrigues. In 2017, it was 200 years since Jane Austen’s death, something that received great recognition in England. Among other things, Jane Austen appears on the new 10 pound notes.

Photo: Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM.

Marriage at the Centre

Jane Austen observed with a sharp eye the hard social patterns that permeated the privileged social class that she was herself part of. Austen’s young heroines fight against and with the restrictions of the time. For may women, marriage was the only way to support themselves. Just as in her books, women were central in Jane Austen’s world. Marriage as a guarantee of the survival of the family is also a theme that runs through the history of Skokloster Castle. Visitors to the exhibition could follow the theme “At the same time at Skokloster”, which presented many of the women of Skokloster.

Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM.
 Two people in historical clothes look at each other.
Photo: Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM.

Programme Activities on the Theme of Jane Austen

During the summer, Skokloster Castle offered a number of programme activities in connection with the exhibition, such as themed guided tours, presentations, picnicking in the castle park, empire dance, costume displays, balls and tea parties. All in the spirit of Jane Austen. The exhibition also had interactive stations with costumes to try on, books to browse and a special setting in which visitors could take their own portrait pictures.

Two historical costumes.
Detail of a wrist and cuff.

Photo: Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM.

Ball at the Castle

During the summer of 2017, a ball was held at Skokloster Castle. A devoted and happy group of Jane Austen fans had the chance to step into an Austen film and experience a ball at the castle! Conductor Vilhelm Dahllöf and musicians played on the instruments of the time and dance master Anna Löfgren led the dance programme that included party dances that were popular around the year 1800. Dinner and a dessert buffet were also served during the ball. The ball was a collaboration with Empirsällskapet and Sällskapet Gustafs Skål.

Jens Mohr, Skokloster Castle/SHM.

A Cooperation

The exhibition was in partnership with Cosprop and Independent Kostym who provided the costumes that were displayed.