2014-10-14

Biltmore displays Dowager Countess outfit


A costume worn by actress Dame Maggie Smith for her character

Violet Crawley on the PBS series
Downton Abbey is now on display in

the Second Floor Living Hall in Biltmore.Credit: ©Carnival Films

Earlier this month, the conservators at Biltmore unveiled the an exclusive preview of the upcoming exhibit "Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times."

The preview costume was worn by Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham--played by Dame Maggie Smith--during the first season of the hit PBS series Downton Abbey.

The coat and skirt ensemble, which appeared in the flower show and garden party scenes in episodes 5 and 7, is now on display for viewing in the Second Floor Living Hall in Biltmore House.

The full Downton Abbey costume exhibit will open February 5, 2015 and continue through Memorial Day and will feature more than 40 costumes created for the show. The clothing will be on display throughout the house in groupings inspired both by the show's characters and by real-life happenings at Biltmore. Admission is included in the price of regular estate tickets, which are now on sale.

Biltmore curator Leslie Klingner (right) and conservator Anne Batram

(left) work on Violet Crawley's costume, now on display in Biltmore House.
Photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company.

The first season of Downton Abbey takes place in 1913 and 1914, overlapping with the golden age of the Vanderbilts' great estate, which is the largest privately owned home in America.

Learn more about Biltmore's Downton exhibit.

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