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The 1st June sees the start of a new exhibition at Attingham called ‘Hidden Lives: Royalty, Glamour and War’. The exhibition uses archive material including photographs, letters, diary entries and magazine articles and links these to collection objects held at Attingham including clothes and jewellery, many of which are not displayed on a regular basis.

By using these various sources of material, we are able to explore and throw new light onto aspects of the lives of the 8th Lord and Lady Berwick based around the three themes of Royalty, Glamour and War. The exhibition will highlight the involvement of the 8th Lord and Lady, both pre and post marriage, in some of the key historical events of the early Twentieth Century, together with more personal events specifically related to them or to Attingham.

My work in recent weeks has concentrated on identifying suitable photographs and correspondence material for inclusion in the exhibition. I have tried to use photographs that are connected to specific letters and to objects within the Attingham collection, as the combination of these three types of material really helps to bring stories and objects to life.

The photograph below shows an assortment of photographs being assessed for their possible inclusion in the exhibition.

Photographs Being Selected For Hidden Lives Exhibition

A similar photograph shows various pieces of correspondence undergoing the same process.

Letters Being Selected For Hidden Lives Exhibition

Another photograph shown below is not featured in the exhibition but is connected to objects that will be displayed. The photograph was taken in August 1923 and shows Lord and Lady Berwick standing at the front entrance to Attingham with the garden designer Cecil Pinsent at the extreme left.

Lord and Lady Berwick With Cecil Pinsent In August 1923

Pinsent was responsible for taking one of the key photographs included in our exhibition and that photograph is itself connected to one of the most popular items in the Attingham collection, an object that is still on public display and which can be seen when making a tour of the mansion. Can you guess what object this might be?

Below are some further clues as to what the exhibition will contain:

  • A hat won by Lady Berwick in a bet with a famous American art historian;
  • Photographs and costume items from an event that took place in Venice on 30th June 1919;
  • Photographs from an event at Attingham in May 1930 after which it was noted that ‘we must have upset your usual arrangements and made rather a mess’;
  • Photos and costume from a 1937 event described as ‘a massively well organised gigantic function’.

If you are not able to guess the answers to some or all of these clues then don’t worry, I will provide some further details in my next blog. Alternatively you could just visit Attingham from the 1st June onwards and all will be revealed.

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