Sat 11 February – Sun 11 June
Making Mischief: Folk Costume in Britain is the first exhibition dedicated to the rich tapestry of folk customs found in the UK today. It will explore the central role played by costume in local and seasonal folk customs, bringing together over 40 costumes created, customised and worn by individual practitioners, many of which have never been exhibited before.
Making Mischief is both a celebration of grassroots traditions and a challenge to preconceptions about folk customs being fixed and nostalgic. It will highlight evolving practices such as the rise of all-female Morris groups and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ performers in customs such as the Hastings Jack in the Green. Loans from the Museum of British Folklore, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the English Folk Costume Archive will be used alongside works from Compton Verney’s collection to trace the origins of folk costume in Britain across several centuries. The exhibition also highlights how strong concerns for and connections with the environment and natural world are across these very different communities.
The exhibition is curated by Simon Costin and Mellany Robinson, of the Museum of British Folklore, and Professor Amy De La Haye, Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History & Curatorship and Joint Director of the Research Centre for Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, UAL, in collaboration with Compton Verney. The exhibition and an ambitious public programme of workshops, talks and new commissions is generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Image: Horse Costume from the Festival of the Horse and Boys Ploughing Match. Photo by Simon Costin 2011