[Musings on Cultural History ~ Clothing, chiefly]

Mary, Mary, quite contrary?

I have just finished a chapter for an edited book that examines how monarchs are remembered (for good and ill) after their reigns. My contribution focuses on nineteenth-century interest in Britain’s Stuart dynasty (1603-1714) through the medium of fancy dress costume. I suggest that the tumultuous lives of these rulers – particularly that of Mary Queen of Scots (r. 1542-1567) and her grandson Charles I (r. 1625-1649) – when re-enacted through costume, enabled people (and especially women) to construct new public identities at a time of social instability, chiefly the result of industrialisation. This is not the place to re-write the chapter, but I thought it could be the place where I include images of the various people who dressed as Mary Queen of Scots (MQS), and people associated with her, during the nineteenth century (that I know of!).

Lady Londonderry’s Ball, 1844

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Mary Lowther Ferguson as MQS

 

The Waverley Ball, 6 July 1871

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Alexandra, Princess of Wales as MQS

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Watercolour of Alexandra as MQS, by Princess Louise (Royal Collection)

 

Punch, 1885

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A satire on the prevalence of MQS costumes at nineteenth-century fancy dress entertainments.

 

The Earl of Dufferin’s Grand Fancy Dress Ball, Ottawa, 23 February 1896

See: Cynthia Cooper, Magnificent Entertainments: Fancy Dress Balls of Canada’s Governors General 1876-1898 (New Brunswick: Goose Lane Editions, 1997), 44-46.

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The Countess of Dufferin as Mary of Guise, MQS’s Mother

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The Earl of Dufferin as James V of Scotland, MQS’s father

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The children of the Earl & Countess of Dufferin dressed as Mary Queen of Scots and her eventual husband, Lord Darnley.

 

The Devonshire House Ball, July 1897

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Dowager Duchess of Hamilton, née Lady Mary Forster as Mary of Hamilton, Lady-in-Waiting to Mary Queen of Scots

Duchess of Devonshire’s Jubilee Costume Ball 1897

Lady Katherine Scott as MQS

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Lady Lister Kaye as Antoinette de Bourbon, Duchesse de Guise, maternal grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots.

 

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