14 June 2012

late for a very important date

the loss of my computer for more than  a week created havoc.

I missed getting you to the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

I think it's true what they say about-better late than never-in this case,

Vogue's 1953 April issue prepared the young Queen's subjects for turning out in appropriate fashion for the ceremony. The cover background featured Oliver Messel's coronation scarf.  Messel's scarf  for the label Cresta was embellished with gold leaf  fit for a queen-but perfect for any commoner lining the streets of Westminster.

Messel's creative talents were also applied to textiles for Sekers Silks-commissioned for the Queen's 1953 Coronation. In the April Vogue Messel's fabrics were featured in one of his whimsical vignettes-Singes dressed as court tailors- designed & made especially by him for the issue.

 A dress from John Cavanagh's Coronation Collection made in one of Messel's silks-

photograph by Seeberger

Now then, for the big day
You'll need this-

at Westminster, Norman Hartnell was the designer of choice for all the Ladies.

Governed by protocol -robes for peers and peeresses, in the latest style drawn by ERIC-

ERIC envisions Hartnell , white satin embroidered with gold and pearls, worn by a marchioness with a kirtle, a train of crimson velvet and a cape of miniver pure.(Middle English meniver, from Old French menu vair, small vair-white belly fur with no grey fur)

ERIC's sketches of the Abbey-for Ladies seated in prominent positions Go Long. 
first sketch, at l., Victor Stiebel's pale grey romaine with pearl collar and at r., Worth- all white brocade with a matching jacket embellished with pastel mink.

For the other Ladies-short is fine, Hardy Amies & Peter Russell worn with lace mantillas (which I love)

& the young Queen? daunting for a 27 year old wanting to look her best-Elizabeth approved every aspect of the gown, & after 8 revisions,
 resplendent in Hartnell.

 tudor rose, thistle, leek, shamrock, protea, maple leaf, wattle flower, fern & the Lotus flower of India-all deeply embroidered on the gown-symbols of Elizabeth's empire.

the Coronation in detail here
read every detail about the dress here
a story in the Guardian about creating Messel's Coronation scarf here
Oliver Messel, edited by his nephew, Thomas Messel at Rizzoli here


  1. This is just splendid and I feel privileged to be allowed to share this collection of beautifully chosen images. The whole look and feel of this take me back in a great way to the way things looked (when I looked in my mother's magazines) when I was growing up. I love particularly the sort-of floating Vogue cover model. A very good start to a day when I've promised myself to maintain a positive, constructive outlook. By the way, having recently suffered a similar computer disaster, you have all my sympathy. But at least my machine has now visited Memphis, where I've never been. Curtis

    1. thank you Curtis, that is a great cover, I agree. the woes of computers-but where would we be without them. pgt

  2. This very deeply affecting transition could not, probably, have been better personified than by the already succession-securing, young and radiant mother, descended from the monarchy's most resilient couple; and to examine her presentation, in any respect, is simply to pay those dues to history which we rely so frequently on this page to cough up for us. Not that the experience was not delightful, touching, and in your way, deeply provocative.

    1. Laurent, thanks for the "pat on the back!" Interesting, yet somewhat alarming to think of the offspring Edward and Wallis might have had- a cross between Edie Sedgwick and Benny Hill with A little bit of Ludwig in the mix. PGT

    2. Oh, shucks; and here I was thinking this were more like a foot massage, after a long day's work. :) Don't you just recoil at the condescension sometimes? The other day, another blogger actually "thanked" me for my "part in the process," conjuring imagery for me of Chaplin's "Modern Times." But it's all in the sound of the thing as it strikes one at the time, I suppose.

      Anyhow, my comment bore its usual telling strokes of superfluousness, I admit.

  3. Gaye, you are so clever. Where do you find all these wonderful things to share with us? No matter. Many thanks. I have seen Oliver Messel's name many times and have always wondered where. Now I know. Silk design. Great post as always. By gone era's are just the best. Shiree

    1. thank you Shiree, the book is excellent, his great fame is in set design and decorating too. Best, PGT

  4. My darling "new, kind of" friend (we met online....and became friends..and then we really met, and continued the friendship..am I right on that?)

    I am not bragging; just telling.

    My father died when I was 4. I do not remember in my "photographic memory" anything at all. (that is why I am so grateful for that little movie of my parents)

    However; when the "coronation" happened; I was 5! And we had the "only tv" in the neighborhood!

    I watched every moment of that "coronation"; and I remember it just as though it was a reel of film in my head!

    (black and white; mind you) that was all there was......and I remember thinking that it was a miracle I did not understand, that that could be taking place 9,000 miles away....and yet I could see it right there.


    ps. A book about Oliver Messel! Please??????

  5. Gaye, What wonderful memories this evokes. As a Canadian school girl I watched the Queen's coronation over and over that day. Then there was also the adjustment from singing G-d Save the King...

    Love the comment about the offspring of Edward & Wallis!!

  6. Fabulous post - really enjoyed it. So very glad you decided to post.

  7. Gaye, loved your selection of rare images. The embroidered detail is something to just stare at -continuing a long tradition in such a spectacular way -rather like the coronation and jubilee itself. Your posts are always a treat.
    Warmest, xxoo



Related Posts with Thumbnails