Jade Halbert, University of Glasgow 2012 The Conference Student Bursary
I was delighted to be awarded a bursary from The Costume Society in association with Maney Publishing to attend this year’s symposium, The Making of a Monarchy for the Modern World, hosted by Historic Royal Palaces at Kensington Palace.
I’m mid way through my Mlitt in Dress and Textile Histories at The University of Glasgow, focusing my research on the court dressmakers of London in the early part of the twentieth century. The opportunity to attend a confrence with so many dress and costume strands was incredibly valuable to my research - where better to learn so much about how monarchy presents itself through image and dress?
Every panel I attended was superb; I was especially impressed with Clair Hughes’ Uneasy heads: hats and monarchs, Dr Philip Mansel’s From George IV to George VI: the rise and fall of civil uniform and Caroline de Guitaut’s Queen Mary and the royal jewels, all of which provoked new thoughts and leads for my own research. Professor Emeritus Alieen Ribeiro’s plenary lecture, Clothing monarchy, fashioning royalty was also a highlight, and an absolute treat for me as a dress historian.
It was fascinating to be able to tour the dress stores within the palace. Seeing such a wonderful collection of so many instantly recognisable royal garments and accessories really made clear to me the enduring importance of dress and etiquette to the royal image.
One of the most valuable and enjoyable aspects of the conference was the chance to speak to others about their work, and to discuss mutual academic interests. The speakers and other delegates made up a rich, diverse group of academics and historians all working in different fields, so it was an exceptional environment in which to learn.
I am indebted to the many members of The Costume Society who made me feel so at ease and encouraged me throughout the three days. I would especially like to thank my fellow bursary winner, Serena Dyer of The University of York, Liz Booty, Chris Godfrey, Sylvia Ayton and Penelope Ruddock. Their genuine interest and support was so welcome and I’m sure my research will be greatly enriched by their input.