A historic museum containing one of Europe’s finest collections of work has commissioned students from Kensington and Chelsea College for a major new exhibition.
The world renowned Wallace Collection has chosen four students from the college’s BTEC Diploma in Theatrical Costume course to replicate two outfits featured in Rembrandt’s painting of Jean Pellicorne – a successful 17th century merchant.
Mathilde Ramzan, Clare Spicer, Jasmine Brackett and Jillian Bellingy now have four months to re-create the outfits, which will form part of an educational display to accompany the museum’s upcoming exhibition about The Dutch East India Company.
The talented four have organised themselves as a production company for the project.
Clare, from Bromley in Kent said:
‘We’ve been given a really exciting and unique opportunity to work with The Wallace Collection. It’s going to be a challenge for us as it’s the first time we’ve been required to make a male costume. There is no room for error as it has to be an exact match to be historically correct but as a group we’re confident we can deliver as we have a high standard of work between us.’
The costumes consist of a small boys outfit and a man’s suit comprising breaches, cloak, doublet and a large ruffle collar.
Although all four students have a shared passion for costume production, each has a different background – Clare is a nursery nurse, Jasmine a website manager, Mathilde a house – mum and Jillian a freelance garment technician.
Speaking about their two-day a week course Mathilde, from Fulham, said:
‘As a class everyone is really supportive of each other and there is a lot of team spirit. The group is made up of people with different backgrounds and experiences, but everyone pulls together to help each other out. I’ve learnt a great deal on the course as you have to study different periods in history and develop costumes from that era, as well as understand how theatre works.’
Clare, who hopes to switch career and become a freelance costume maker said:
‘I’ve always enjoyed sewing and textiles but never thought I could make a career from it. Through the course I’ve learnt to make bodices and other outfits you wouldn’t create in every day dress making. I’ve also formed lasting friendships. I enjoy being a nursery nurse but costume making is where my passion is. I had no idea you could do a theatrical costume course. If I had discovered it earlier I would have thought about a career change much sooner!’
Jasmine, from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, added:
‘I’d encourage anyone with a love of sewing and making crazy costumes to take this course. In class, we’re always encouraged to find things out for ourselves and to experiment, but we also know we always have the full support and guidance of our tutor throughout. This is a fantastic course that can lead to university entrance, and is also a good platform to enter the theatrical industry.’
Date published: 1 November 2011