Monday, June 08, 2009

The Ladies' Historical Tea Society Edwardian Picnic at White Hall

What a day. What a wonderful, happy day. Our tea society met at the home of Cassius Clay, White Hall, at 11:00 in the morning for a relaxed picnic. It was quiet there and peace-filled, shaded by mature trees, and and we overlooked the mansion and its lawns, the whole of that surrounded by fields, some of new-mown hay all carefully baled into giant cylinders, some of cattle grazing and occasionally lowing, their background the first cries of this season's crickets. The morning air was cool and dry and what old novels called a zephyr breeze breathed over us now and then.

Our director Rebecca Chamberlain wrote about the picnic in our blog, the Ladies' Historical Tea Society, so she shall tell the main story.

Photo: Rebecca and Natalie look out over the fields, with Cassius Clay's White Hall behind. As always, click on the photos to see larger versions.

Here are a few more pictures of the outing:

Polly and Rebecca set up the picnic things. Both wore skirt and waist ensembles, and Polly wore a seaside-style hat that I had created in 2007, large-brimmed, and ruched on top and throughout the underside, to which she added veiling around the crown and trailing down the back. The additions turned it from a hat to a Hat and she looked marvelous in it. Rebecca is wearing a country hat, simply trimming with ribbon to suit her informal waist and skirt.

Taking a stroll before we sit down to eat.

Polly and I made her skirt from navy and white seersucker (from Denver Fabrics); it features the shortest of trains and is meant for high-summer wear. Her petticoat, properly unseen here, is simple and sturdy and unflounced, but trimmed at bottom with scalloping: perfect to go with a breezy skirt. She paired the skirt with a long-sleeved, high-necked blouse trimmed with Cluny lace.

Rebecca wears a skirt I made for her, of willow-colored linen (from the It is set at shin level with a band of antique chunky Cluny lace insertion I found in a local antiques store, a good fit with the medium-weight linen weave. It features a train some 6-8 inches long. It suited her so well! She wears a turn-collared lace-trimmed informal blouse and she has rolled up the sleeves, something we have seen in period picnic pictures that I covered in a previous post.

Here we have just sat down for lunch.

Picture-taking in front of the conservatory: Polly and Rebecca have broken down into giggles.

Paula seeks a little rest in the formal garden. She was smart to bring a parasol. The rest of us forgot ours. She wears a teens-era style ensemble of straight black skirt, boots, and fluffy blouse. The sleeves do hark to the early Edwardian era, but we were not attempting period-correctness, only period-inspired fun.

Darleen under White Hall's double rose arbor. She also channeled the teens. She chose to leave her blouse untucked and peplumed for an informal look, and chose a black straight skirt and ankle boots to go with it. Her hat is mushroom shaped and surrounded with flowers: it was very successful and looked terrific. Mushroom hats were a hat phase then as now.

Next posts: the promised remarks on how we reacted to wearing period inspired clothes, plus the rest of my ensemble...the underthings, hat trimming, an a hairstyle tutorial. These posts may take some time to put together.


Sarah Jane said...

What glorious photos! I felt a bit that I was there too, reading your post. Lovely ladies and lovely ensembles. I cannot wait to read your upcoming posts as well. I will be eagerly anticipating!

M.M.E. said...

That looks like so much fun! I am in love with the Victorian and Edwardian era, which inspires most of my artwork.

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Megan Eckman,

Oh, my goodness [drawn-in breath]. Your artwork is a delight! I just visited your blog and now your studio site, and want to dive in more.

I spent hours and hours poring over illustrations while growing up, and keep a copy of a 19th century St. Nicolas magazine primarily for the enjoyment of its illustrations.

Thanks kindly for visiting,

Natalie in Kentucky