Tags: Sussex

Spotlight on love and marriage at Horsham Museum

11 Apr 2018

Styles change over the centuries, but love and marriage will never go out of fashion. And if you need further proof, pop along to the latest exhibition at Horsham Museum, starting on April 21

Image gallery

Image gallery

If your thoughts are turning to love, and nuptials are on the horizon, then the latest exhibition at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery will be perfect for indulging your romantic side.

The exhibition, appropriately called Love and Marriage, runs from April 21 to July 7. On show will be the museum’s extensive collection of wedding dresses covering a period of 200 years. Original documents and photographs, spanning 150 years of Horsham’s history, show couples, families and friends enjoying their special day together.

The stunning wedding dresses on display – all donated by the public – include a dress made from hand-embroidered Chinese silk imported in the 1860s, deemed fit for a mayor’s wife; a shocking pink dress for a fashion-conscious 1970s bride, and very rare, grey Quaker bride and groom outfits dating to the 1820s – 15 years before Queen Victoria set the new trend for white dresses.

Love and Marriage looks at the history of wedded bliss and the varied methods and reasons for entering into marriage. For many people, in times gone by, marriage marked the end of the arduous task of finding a partner. And for those with land and property, arranged marriages could cement an economic transaction and ensure the preservation of the family line. Visitors can see cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson’s satirical prints of Dr Syntax, whose efforts in seeking a bride amused Regency England. 

Thanks to the generosity of the people of Horsham District, the exhibition also contains a digital slideshow of photographs of weddings spanning the generations. These wonderful images show the changing fashions and tastes of the past 100 years. 

With books written about love and romance, an 18th-century sexual guide, documents outlining 17th-century marriage settlements, and a range of wedding certificates dating from the Victorian era through to modern to Civil Partnerships, Love and Marriage is an exhibition for all those who have a romantic heart. It will remind them of their own first loves, first dates and wedding days. 

The images show dresses from various eras: Edwardian, the 1920s, WWII (1942) and 1973.

  • The Love and Marriage exhibition opens on April 21 and runs until  July 7,  2018.
  • Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, run by Horsham District Council, is open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, free admission.  For more information, visit: www.horshammuseum.org

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