Knole's Tudor costumes
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The costumed tour of the house is an activity that brings schools back to Knole again and again. Wearing one of our handmade, high-quality outfits and walking through the state rooms creates memories which last a lifetime.
The tour begins in the Great Hall, where every child is given the opportunity to put on a costume. Each costume represents a person who visited, lived or worked at Knole, from poorest to richest: the baker, the falconer and the chambermaid, but also lords and ladies and even Queen Elizabeth herself.
Each child discovers a little about the importance of their character before the group leaves the hall for their tour. In each room, our guide will show your class how features in the house were used by rich people, and how the servants scurried about behind the scenes using concealed doorways.
Classes of Years 5 and 6 can experience a costume demonstration showing how an important Tudor lady was dressed by her maid ready for a visit to Court. Children can discover the complexity of the many layers of the costume and appreciate the length of time it took to get ready for a special occasion.
A visit to your school
We can also demonstrate costume if we visit you at your school. The children's costumes are presented as a fashion show, looking carefully at the detail of the costumes and the purpose of each feature. For example, why do the shoulders stick out just a little bit too far? And why are so many of the richest costumes black?
If we visit you, we can bring some of our Tudor artefacts to complement the costumes. We can also look at some of Knole's portraits to see what can be deduced about the sitters from their clothes.