The story below is an excerpt from our Jan./Feb. 2015 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
Visitors to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, can soon blur the lines between the Vanderbilts’ days on the estate and the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey.” More than 40 costumes worn on the TV show will be on display at Biltmore for an exhibit opening February 5, 2015 and running through May 25.
The outfits will be staggered throughout the rooms of Biltmore House and will include clothing worn by the downstairs staff as well as the family upstairs.
“You’ll get a context for the outfits,” says Leslie Klingner, curator of interpretation. “The outfits depict different seasons and different times of day.”
In October, Biltmore previewed one of the outfits worn by actress Maggie Smith who plays Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.
Another outfit that goes on preview in the ticket office in January is so detailed they are putting it in a case so that people can get up close enough to examine the seed beads and other touches in the lilac silk frock. This garment is original from the 1920s and in remarkable condition.
“Downton Abbey” provides a window into an era of great change beginning in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic and moving through the hardships of World War I and the Jazz Age in the early 1920s – roughly equivalent to the period the Vanderbilts lived at Biltmore.
Admission to the exhibition is included in the regular ticket price.