Revealing a playful aspect of Victorian society, this display explores the 19th Century enthusiasm for fancy dress. Defined both as an event, traditionally a masked ball, and as a concept, the wearing of costume for purposes of disguise or amusement, the masquerade had come into fashion in the previous century. Encouraged by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, this vogue continued throughout the 19th Century, with a change in emphasis towards privately organised, rather than commercial, costume balls, but on an equally splendid scale. Featuring images of the royal family, the aristocracy, and leading Victorian artists in fancy dress, this display highlights the portrait tradition that developed in tandem with this pastime.
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St Martin's PlaceLondonWC2H 0HE
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