Mannequin Delivery Number One

December 19, 2013

Hooray, the first Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 mannequins have arrived in the building and we are gradually starting to unpack them.

Here you can see members of the Conservation Team unloading bubble wrap-clad mannequins from the delivery van and transporting them to Textile Conservation for unwrapping and labelling.

Transporting wrapped mannequins to the Conservation Department offices. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Unloading mannequins from the van. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The tiny mannequin selected for the page boy outfit loaned to the museum by Lady Mary Charteris

The mannequins and the mounts used for conservation mounting of museum objects must serve a number of functions.

  • They must support the costume fully, or they must be simple to adapt to ensure that they do.
  • They should assist in the interpretation of the garments and the understanding of the period in which the garment was worn.
  • They should be able to withstand international travel without breaking or causing any damage to the costumes during transit.

With these functions in mind we select mannequins from a number of sources, depending upon the exhibition.  For the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition, a range of mannequins will be used, including calico covered dressmakers mannequins, fibreglass figures and some very specific and specially made figures, all of which we intend to blog about in the not too distant future!

However, not every mannequin is purchased new for each display, and the early stages of almost every fashion exhibition involve a visit to the Tower Crypt Store in the museum basement (the treasure trove in which we keep our stock of mannequins for re-use) to see if there is anything that can be recycled. With over 300 figures in stock, and almost 800 figures currently on tour or on display, mannequins are certainly something we have no shortage of!

Selecting figures for re-use in Wedding Dresses 1775- 2014 from our mannequin store

About the author

December 19, 2013

I work as a Costume Mounting Specialist in the Textile Conservation Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. I spent the whole of 2009 preparing the first phase of Wedding...

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