The romantic fashions of Jane Austen’s characters and the elegant steps of the dancers were recreated with the Regency costume ball, which was organised by Martha Andrews, visitor services and curatorial officer at Paxton House, together with an amazing band of volunteers.
“I was delighted by how things went,” Martha said. “This is the first time we have put on something like this but we hope to have it again in the future.
“We’ve got the Regency gallery hall which was used as a ball room about 150 years ago. They have these regency balls all over the country and we thought that Paxton House would be an ideal location.”
And so it proved. “The response from everybody was very good,” Martha said. “About 50 people attended the ball, the majority in costume.
“Some people were actors and had their costumes already, but we had people who borrowed costumes from the Maltings Threatre in Berwick, people who had gone round the charity shops and used their imaginations, and others who had costumes made or made their own costumes especially for the occasion.”
A dance workshop held at the House on Saturday afternoon prepared guests, giving them a chance to learn the unfamiliar steps from days gone by.
The theme of traditional dress was explored further on Sunday, when two members of The History Wardrobe performed ‘Undressing Mr Darcey’. Martha explained: “This was a performance put on by two members of The History Wardrobe, almost a Jayne Austin and a very good looking Mr Darcy who went right down to his underwear!”
The intricacies of Regency dress were explained, followed by a special tour of the house, which included some of the Georgian costume collection that’s normally in store.
Wellington’s soldiers, who set up camp in the grounds at Paxton earlier this year, also added excitement to the weekend when they returned to skirmish in the woods.