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Rare surviving Georgian fashions and majestic paintings go on display as The King’s Gallery reopens

Release date: Monday, 1 April 2024

A sword made for George IV’s historic visit to Edinburgh and other rare surviving items of Georgian clothing are among almost 100 works from the Royal Collection that go on show as part of Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians. It is the first exhibition to open at The King’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, formerly known as The Queen’s Gallery, following an 18-month closure for essential maintenance work.

Throughout the exhibition, the fashions recorded in portraiture are used as a lens to explore the many social, political and technological changes that characterised Georgian Britain. Paintings, prints and drawings by artists including Gainsborough, Zoffany and Hogarth are accompanied by a selection of clothing and accessories to tell the story of fashionable dress from George I’s accession in 1714 to the death of George IV in 1830.

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians takes a closer look at George IV’s 1822 visit to Scotland, the first by a reigning monarch in almost 200 years. Visitors will see the set of accoutrements specially supplied to the King, including an ornate broadsword, made of blued steel inlaid with gold and decorated with Scottish emblems. Also on display is a full-length portrait of George IV by Fife-born artist Sir David Wilkie, showing the monarch in Royal Stewart tartan and wearing the accoutrements.

A rarely displayed, full-length portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of Queen Charlotte is paired with an embellished Indian muslin sacque gown on loan from Historic Royal Palaces, a close match in shape and style to the delicate white dress that glitters with silk netting and tasselled bunches of gold lace in Gainsborough’s painting.

The age of Enlightenment saw ideas about childhood evolve, and this materialised in childrenswear becoming more comfortable and practical. Clothes and undergarments such as bonnets and stays were used to teach children good posture or provide protection. An embroidered bonnet thought to have been worn by Princess Charlotte is on display for the first time.

All four Georgian monarchs took great interest in military clothing, and the 18th century saw a proliferation of uniform styles. A deep blue uniform jacket designed by George IV and captured in the monarch’s portrait by Sir William Beechey shows first-hand the richness of military dress.

Georgian jewellery was often highly personal, and much like clothing, was regularly repurposed – even by the royal family. Pearl-adorned buttons from a dress coat belonging to George III were reused to create an eye-catching necklace for the Duchess of Clarence, later Queen Adelaide, shown alongside items of Queen Charlotte’s impressive jewellery collection.

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians at The King’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse is the first Royal Collection Trust exhibition to offer £1 tickets to visitors receiving Universal Credit and other named benefits. The King’s Gallery will also continue to offer concessionary rates, including reduced tickets for Young People, and the option to convert standard tickets bought directly from Royal Collection Trust into a 1-Year Pass, allowing free re-entry for 12 months.

Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians is at The King’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, 22 March – 22 September 2024.



Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians
Discover Georgian fashion and style, from the practical dress of laundry maids to the glittering gowns worn at court.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.