Jane Dunn, Artist
Professional artist Jane Dunn is now taking commissions for side saddle and other paintings. She also has side saddle paintings for sale. Pictures of two of Jane's original oils are shown below (scanned at low resolution); prices are approximately £150 for a 31 x 46 cm painting; £250 if a likeness is required. A larger size of 50 x 60 cm is approx. £350. Check out her website for more examples of her work, and her contact details: www.janedunn.co.uk
A giclee print is now available of the left-hand painting below. A 19.5 x 13.75 inch print, signed and numbered, is £25, but the print can be made to any size. Please contact Jane at her website for sales.
Making a Period Riding Costume?
For a correct period look you will need a riding corset!
Ian Chipperfield, otherwise known as 'The Staymaker', runs weekend courses in the UK to enable you to cut and construct a Victorian corset to fit you, which can easily be adapted for riding purposes. Riding corsets were traditionally cut higher over the hips for ease of movement, and the use of spiral steel boning, rather that flat steel boning, gives the flexibility needed when on horseback.
For 2006 dates for Ian's Victorian corset courses, please see his website: http://thestaymaker.co.uk
The Fair Equestrienne
An exhibition of riding habits and other sporting dress took place at Killerton House (National Trust), near Exeter, Devon, England, from 13 March to 31 October 2004. As well as featuring costume from the Paulise de Bush collection held at Killerton, riding habits from the Exeter Costume Museum, and one or two from private collections, the exhibition included several original riding habits, side-saddles, hats, whips and stirrups from the personal collection of Side Saddle Lady proprietor Penny Housden*. On 30 May there were also two side-saddle riding displays by Area 16, Devon and Cornwall branch, of the English Side Saddle Association, choreographed by Alison Melhuish.
Penny, and members of staff at Killerton, dressed up in reproduction period riding costumes for the Press Launch day on 10 March. They featured on Carlton Television's 'Westcountry Live', and the BBC's 'Spotlight' programmes, and in the local press (e.g. Express & Echo, Western Morning News etc.). Photos of the event can be seen by clicking here. Horse and Hound magazine carried an article on the exhibition in a March issue, as did the Guardian magazine supplement (end May/June) and Woman's Hour on the BBC's Radio 4 recorded a feature for their programme, which was broadcast later on.
*It is the aim of Side Saddle Lady proprietor Penny Housden eventually to open a museum dedicated to women's side-saddle riding. She would therefore be pleased to hear from anyone willing to donate side-saddle items of historical interest to this future project.
See below for the Press Release issued by Killerton House:
'A rider who is wearing a tall hat for the first time, should not forget to lower her head well in passing under trees . . .' (Mrs Hayes, The Horsewoman, 1910)
'The exhibition will focus on elegant masculine tailored garments and accessories produced for women from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. It will also include tailored coats and costumes worn for other outdoor activities in and out of the saddle, such as golf, cycling, walking and climbing, which gradually became more acceptable for women from the 1880s onwards.
'Motoring, a 'new' leisure activity, became popular with the rich when the Women's Automobile Association was founded in 1903.
'The earliest garment in the display dates from the 1750s; it is a camlet jacket from a riding habit, probably made for a 12-year-old girl. Although riding was considered suitable exercise for young ladies, it was not until the nineteenth century that it was considered proper for women to ride alone. By the 1920s, it was only just beginning to become acceptable for women to ride astride.
'Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, habits were also worn for walking, travelling, and informal day wear, and would be made by a tailor following masculine lines, replacing breeches with a skirt. Women were criticised for 'affecting manly airs' in this apparently androgynous garb, for 'one cannot easily distinguish your Sex by it. For you neither look like a modest Girl in it, nor an agreeable Boy' (Samuel Richardson, 1741).
'However, the cut also showed the influence of fashion. When waistlines rose at the end of the eighteenth century, riding habits reflected the trend. A variety of materials was used, from lightweight colourful silks and wools, to heavy tweeds and thornproof worsted fabrics; summerweight dustproof 'nankeen' cottons were worn for travelling, as well as sport, and are also represented here.
'Luxurious accessories and specialised underwear developed to complete an elegant figure. A mid-nineteenth-century riding corset will be on show, alongside lace-trimmed silk hats, gold-handled riding crops, and examples of side-saddles.
'By the 1900s, riding had become a serious sport for women. In 1910, Alice M. Hayes' classic work The Horsewoman was published. It includes a chapter on dress, illustrated by a photograph of the Hayes' Safety Skirt, developed by the author and Frederick Tautz, an Oxford Street tailor, in 1894.
'Many well-known habit makers of the late nineteenth century, such as Redfern and Creed, supplied the Royal families of Europe, and eventually became better known for day and evening creations. Examples of fashionable day wear will be shown, to place the sporting dress in the context of fashion history.
'The exhibition will also demonstrate that in the last 25 years the elegance of 'man-tailored' garments has been revived by many designers, including Ralph Lauren and John Galliano. Other contemporary designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, have constantly referenced the past for inspiration for their own designs, and two of the most admired elements of 'English' dress, tailoring and tweeds, have appeared frequently in recent collections.'
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