New exhibition looks at the clothes behind Preston Guild

The Harris Museum & Art Gallery will hold an clothing exhibition of Preston Guild garments later on this year.

As part of “Dressing up for the Guild”, costume and textile specialist Uthra Rajgopal is working with the museum to investigate Preston Guild garments including historic fancy dress and uncovering the stories behind the collection.

Dr Caroline Alexander, curator of decorative art at the Harris said: “Fancy dress is a fascinating subject in the history of Preston Guild and a potentially rich but untapped subject in dress and textile history.

“In particular, Uthra’s research will focus on a fascinating set of fancy dress outfits and photographs featuring or linked to cotton and the textiles trades.

“By exploring how the textile industry represented itself and its heritage at this historic event, we hope that Uthra’s research will bring an intriguing new perspective to textile studies.”

The photograph above is one of many that will be studied and investigated. It shows 10 year old Lilian Bailey wearing a Guild dress from 1922.

Rajgopal’s work will include researching how various trades, churches and schools contributed to the ceremony of civic pride. She said: “I have always been drawn to the study of why and how we choose what to wear.

“Historically, the idea of dressing up and in particular, character costume, provides such a rich source of information about ideas of gender, consumption, performance and even class structure.”

Find out more about the Guild by reading our previous articles.

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