Women and Power at Berrington

Conservator working on both the dresses bodice

The National Trust’s national theme for 2018 was ‘Women and Power’. This was designed to commemorate 100 years since women were given the vote. We wanted to celebrate this also, but in our own unique way that focuses on our Georgian origins.

At Berrington we wanted to support and celebrate the National Trust's 'Women and Power' campaign for ourselves. We decided that rather than reflect on the twentieth century women of Berrington, we would enlighten our visitors about Berrington’s female predecessors from the eighteenth century.

Inside the mansion, from 1 March 2019, you will be able to uncover the stories of the life, love and loss of its women both upstairs and downstairs.

Berrington's brightly coloured landing
Berrington's landing, showing the scagiola pillars and the classic statues
Berrington's brightly coloured landing

Ann Bangham was the wife of Berrington’s creator, Thomas Harley and in 2016 we were sucessful in our bid for an original eighteenth-century dress that we believed belonged to Ann. For the first time our visitors will be able to experience an exquisite interpretation of Ann’s original Court Mantua dress in the new exhibition, 'A Dress Fit for a King'.

You can discover more about Ann Bangham and her life at Berrington in the article attached below. You can also watch this video to discover what the conservators have already learnt about Ann by working with the dress:

Alongside 'A Dress Fit for a King' Herefordshire artist, Lorna J Brown has created 'Eye am She' to redress the balance of stories at Berrington. She has designed and created this piece of artwork to be placed in one of the bedrooms of the first floor at Berrington.

Lorna pays homage to the female space and experience. Centred around the life of this Georgian woman, it explores both a factual and hypothetical narrative of the life of this eighteenth-century socialite and her experience of motherhood and womanhood.

The artwork comprises a tribute to elements of the Georgians culture such as the ‘Secret Language of Flowers' and Georgian Lover's Eye Minautres.

See a modern take on the Georgian Eye Miniatures as they make you think about Ann's experience as a women in the eighteenth-century
A reflection in a mirror of the Georgian Eye Miniatures hanging down from the ceiling
See a modern take on the Georgian Eye Miniatures as they make you think about Ann's experience as a women in the eighteenth-century

She has stated that, ‘I entertain a hypothetical narrative that gives cause for consideration of the choices that women have today as opposed to then, and the relatable subject of the sacrifices that we make in life’.

Through her work Lorna reveals the hidden feminine aspects threaded throughout the mansion and how they are intertwined and integral to the masculine successes at Berrington.

This is an entirely fresh perspective on Berrington’s past and the women that lived here. With the aim to show you Berrington in a new light and uncover stories of the women who have been forgotten, we hope you will discover something new this year.