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Fancy Dress Collection

"Fancy Dress: A Timeless Celebration of Imagination and Identity" Step into the world of fancy dress, where history intertwines with creativity

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Lenny Henry and Dawn French, as Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Lenny Henry and Dawn French, as Michael Jackson and Bubbles, arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith Palais. 6th April 1997

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Comedian Roy Chubby Brown wearing colourful suit July 1993

Comedian Roy Chubby Brown wearing colourful suit July 1993

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Pop group called the Animal Kwackers seen here in a central London park

Pop group called the Animal Kwackers seen here in a central London park. Left to Right Rory the Lion, Bungo the hound dog, Twang the monkey, and Boots the tiger. 17th October 1975

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Scene from Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo: Javert, the detective (engraving)

Scene from Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo: Javert, the detective (engraving)
5996966 Scene from Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo: Javert, the detective (engraving) by Brion, Gustave (1824-77) (after); Private Collection; (add.info.: Scene from Les Miserables)

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Twelfth Night Revels in the Great Hall, Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

Twelfth Night Revels in the Great Hall, Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
STC87430 Twelfth Night Revels in the Great Hall, Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, from Architecture of the Middle Ages, 1838 (litho) by Nash

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) on her betrothal to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten

Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) on her betrothal to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, Buckingham Palace, London
5999700 Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) on her betrothal to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, Buckingham Palace, London, 1947 (b/w photo) by English Photographer

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: The Mad Hatters... Flamboyant manager Malcolm Allison and his giant killing side have

The Mad Hatters... Flamboyant manager Malcolm Allison and his giant killing side have
The Mad Hatters...Flamboyant manager Malcolm Allison and his giant killing side have taken to wearing fedora-style hats after their recent FA Cup success

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Actresses Sue Pollard (left) who plays Peggy in the television comedy series Hi De Hi

Actresses Sue Pollard (left) who plays Peggy in the television comedy series Hi De Hi and Diane Holiday who plays Yvonne, pictured dressed as Hula Girls during filming for the new series

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Shirley Bassey and guest arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith

Shirley Bassey and guest arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith Palais. 6th April 1997

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Ian Dury in the play Talk of the Devil at the Palace Theatre, Watford

Ian Dury in the play Talk of the Devil at the Palace Theatre, Watford. He is pictured with Kate Lock who plays the part of Geraldine

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Cornelia Bradley Martin, as Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, Bradley-Martin Ball

Cornelia Bradley Martin, as Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, Bradley-Martin Ball
3077517 Cornelia Bradley Martin, as Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, Bradley-Martin Ball, 1897 (b/w photo) by American Photographer; Collection of the New-York Historical Society

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Actresses Sue Pollard (left) who plays Peggy in the television comedy series Hi De Hi

Actresses Sue Pollard (left) who plays Peggy in the television comedy series Hi De Hi and Diane Holiday who plays Yvonne, pictured dressed as Hula Girls during filming for the new series

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Cat-Show-Offbeat

Cat-Show-Offbeat
Cat dressed up for a show with a top hat AFP PHOTO

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Barbara Windsor with boyfriend Scott Harvey, dressed as a Pearly Queen and King

Barbara Windsor with boyfriend Scott Harvey, dressed as a Pearly Queen and King, arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith Palais. 6th April 1997

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Students spray the watching crowd with water during the Rag Week procession down

Students spray the watching crowd with water during the Rag Week procession down Northumberland Street, Newcastle on 8th March 1980

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: British actor John Thaw in January 1987, appearing in the Sherlock Holmes TV film '

British actor John Thaw in January 1987, appearing in the Sherlock Holmes TV film " The Sign of Four" where he plays treasure smuggler Jonathan Small, pictured here with co-star Tonga

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Press Club February 1978 Playboy bunnies will challenge Press club rabbits at

Press Club February 1978 Playboy bunnies will challenge Press club rabbits at the Press club, London International Press centre, Shoe Lane London in a grand snooker tournament

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: 'The two Ronnies'- Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett

"The two Ronnies"- Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett
" The two Ronnies" - Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, filming at Berkely (Glos) for the new B.B.C. Television series " Women rule England". July 1980 P003689

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: William Edward Dighton (1822-1853) in Middle Eastern Dress, ca. 1852-53. Creator

William Edward Dighton (1822-1853) in Middle Eastern Dress, ca. 1852-53. Creator
William Edward Dighton (1822-1853) in Middle Eastern Dress, ca. 1852-53

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Buffoons in a Village, 1857. Artist: Francois Nicolas Riss

Buffoons in a Village, 1857. Artist: Francois Nicolas Riss
Buffoons in a Village, 1857. Riss, Francois Nicolas (1804-1886). Found in the collection of the State V. Tropinin-Museum, Moscow

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Franz Schubert (colour litho)

Franz Schubert (colour litho)
3095884 Franz Schubert (colour litho) by Nowak, Otto Robert (1874-1945); Private Collection; (add.info.: Franz Schubert. Postcard, early 20th century.); © Look and Learn

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Manchester City players dressed in costume fot their Christmas Pantomome '

Manchester City players dressed in costume fot their Christmas Pantomome " Aladdin". They are L-R: Mike Summerbee, Tony Book, Francis Lee and in front Joe Corrigan December 1971

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Andrew Lloyd Webber arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith

Andrew Lloyd Webber arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith Palais. He is wearing a fancy dress costume, dressed as a football fan. 6th April 1997

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Indian Empire Garden Party at Hurlingham Mrs Grosvenor - Collins ( wife of Major

Indian Empire Garden Party at Hurlingham Mrs Grosvenor - Collins ( wife of Major Grosvenor - Collins, of Welwyn, Hertfordshire ) 1 July 1935

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Opening personnel at the Commodore Cinema. 1933

Opening personnel at the Commodore Cinema. 1933

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Boxgrove Tipteers, local amateur group in a Christmas Mummers Play October 1936

Boxgrove Tipteers, local amateur group in a Christmas Mummers Play October 1936
Christmas Mummers Play with the actors in a variety of costumes. October 1936 George Garland Collection West Sussex Record Office Ref No: Garland N13694

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Consular diptych of Boethius (ivory relief, 487)

Consular diptych of Boethius (ivory relief, 487)
LRI4671276 Consular diptych of Boethius (ivory relief, 487) by Italian School, (5th century); 24x18 cm; Museo di Santa Giulia, Brescia

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: French noble in formal clothes, 1808. 1825 (lithograph)

French noble in formal clothes, 1808. 1825 (lithograph)
7236918 French noble in formal clothes, 1808. 1825 (lithograph) by Lecomte, Hippolyte (1781-1857); Private Collection; (add.info.: French noble in formal clothes, 1808)

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Pythagoras and Euclid, 1437 (marble tile)

Pythagoras and Euclid, 1437 (marble tile)
7260238 Pythagoras and Euclid, 1437 (marble tile) by Della Robbia, Luca (1400-82); 83x69 cm; Museo dell Opera del Duomo, Florence, Tuscany, Italy; Photo © Raffaello Bencini

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: The Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, 1740 / 41. Creator: Michele Marieschi

The Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, 1740 / 41. Creator: Michele Marieschi
The Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, 1740/41

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: After the Ball, 1917 (oil on board)

After the Ball, 1917 (oil on board)
CH344434 After the Ball, 1917 (oil on board) by Fischer, Paul (1860-1934); Private Collection; Photo eChristies Images; Danish, out of copyright

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret (b / w photo)

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret (b / w photo)
3103112 Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret (b/w photo) by English Photographer, (20th century); Private Collection; (add.info.: Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret)

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Coat of arms of various cantons of Switzerland (colour litho)

Coat of arms of various cantons of Switzerland (colour litho)
3643225 Coat of arms of various cantons of Switzerland (colour litho) by English School, (20th century); Private Collection; (add.info.: Coat of arms of various cantons of Switzerland)

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Patsy Cornwallis-West, Irish born aristocrat and mistress of King Edward VII (b / w photo)

Patsy Cornwallis-West, Irish born aristocrat and mistress of King Edward VII (b / w photo)
6015459 Patsy Cornwallis-West, Irish born aristocrat and mistress of King Edward VII (b/w photo) by English Photographer, (20th century); Private Collection; (add.info)

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Now heres a likely candidate for this years milk race

Now heres a likely candidate for this years milk race, a lady who is way ahead of the common herd. Daisy reckons shes just the cream of amateur cycling -- the faster moo-ver in the West Midlands

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Comedian Ken Dodd and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980

Comedian Ken Dodd and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980, tickling sticks at the ready

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Yma Sumac, before appearing before the audience at the Kings Hall

Yma Sumac, before appearing before the audience at the Kings Hall, breaks the ice with a spot of rhythm with the two Andean Drummers, Hernan Brana and David Rivera. June 1952 P009566

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: The Devonshire House Ball Lady Alexander 14 April 1920

The Devonshire House Ball Lady Alexander 14 April 1920

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Mista the clown, alias Clive Chandler, visits pupils at Earlsdon Primary School, Coventry

Mista the clown, alias Clive Chandler, visits pupils at Earlsdon Primary School, Coventry, as part of a drive to get children involved in the arts. August 9th 1984

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Michael Crawford actor comedian In Pantomime

Michael Crawford actor comedian In Pantomime

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Lulu and her son, Jordan Frieda, arriving at Elton John

Lulu and her son, Jordan Frieda, arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith Palais. 6th April 1997

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Greg Rusedski and Lucy Connor arriving at Elton John

Greg Rusedski and Lucy Connor arriving at Elton Johns 50th birthday party at Hammersmith Palais. 6th April 1997

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: The filming of It Ain t Half Hot Mum, at Hawley Lake, Farnborough

The filming of It Ain t Half Hot Mum, at Hawley Lake, Farnborough, in Hampshire seen here is Melvyn Hayes in costume. June 1980 80-03101

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Sheba, c.1929. Creator: Mary Tripe

Sheba, c.1929. Creator: Mary Tripe
Sheba, c.1929. This is a portrait of Allison Kirkcaldie, who was part of the family that owned Wellington's Kirkcaldie and Stains department store

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Fancy-dress ball in aid of St. Ann's Dispensary, at St, George's Hall, Liverpool, 1864

Fancy-dress ball in aid of St. Ann's Dispensary, at St, George's Hall, Liverpool, 1864. Creator: Unknown
Fancy-dress ball in aid of St. Ann's Dispensary, at St, George's Hall, Liverpool, 1864. Engraving from a sketch by Mr

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: 2nd illustrated page of an edition of 'Praise of Folly' by Didier Erasmus (1469 - 1536)

2nd illustrated page of an edition of "Praise of Folly" by Didier Erasmus (1469 - 1536), Edition of Leiden
AIS5354617 2nd illustrated page of an edition of "Praise of Folly" by Didier Erasmus (1469 - 1536), Edition of Leiden

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Woman in fancy dress costume as Night (la Nuit), 1880s (lithograph)

Woman in fancy dress costume as Night (la Nuit), 1880s (lithograph)
5893506 Woman in fancy dress costume as Night (la Nuit), 1880s (lithograph); (add.info.: Woman in costume as Night (la Nuit) in a dress decorated with stars and zodiac signs for a masquerade ball

Background imageFancy Dress Collection: Woman in costume of Spring for a masquerade ball, 1880s (lithograph)

Woman in costume of Spring for a masquerade ball, 1880s (lithograph)
5893502 Woman in costume of Spring for a masquerade ball, 1880s (lithograph); (add.info.: Woman in costume of spring (le printemps) for a masquerade ball. Costume designed by M. Robin



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"Fancy Dress: A Timeless Celebration of Imagination and Identity" Step into the world of fancy dress, where history intertwines with creativity, and characters come to life. From the grandeur of Les Miserables to the royal betrothal of Princess Elizabeth, each scene captures a moment in time that transcends reality. Lenny Henry and Dawn French's portrayal of Michael Jackson and Bubbles reminds us that even pop culture icons can be transformed through costume. Their dedication to detail brings joy and laughter to all who witness their transformation. The Twelfth Night Revels at Haddon Hall transport us back to an era filled with merriment and revelry. The Great Hall comes alive as people don extravagant attire, embracing the spirit of festivity. Cornelia Bradley Martin's embodiment of Mary Stuart at the Bradley-Martin Ball showcases how fancy dress allows individuals to step into different roles, exploring historical figures or mythical beings, and is a testament to our fascination with other worlds and times. William Edward Dighton's Middle Eastern Dress transports us across continents, reminding us that fancy dress knows no boundaries. It allows us to explore cultures far from our own, fostering understanding and appreciation for diversity. At cat shows or press club challenges, even animals partake in this whimsical tradition. Whether it be Playboy bunnies challenging press club rabbits or feline fashionistas strutting their stuff on stage, they remind us that everyone can join in on the fun. Ian Dury's performance in Talk of the Devil demonstrates how fancy dress extends beyond visual appeal; it becomes a tool for storytelling on stage. Through costumes, actors embody characters' essence while captivating audiences with their talent. Even ancient artifacts like Boethius' consular diptych or Pythagoras and Euclid depicted on marble tiles reveal that dressing up has been cherished throughout history. These relics remind us that humans have always sought ways to express themselves creatively.