Ellen Terry LEFT: Cabinet photograph of Ellen Terry, taken by Window and Grove. Part of the Guy Little Collection, Department of Theatre and Performance, V&A. RIGHT: Cabinet photograph of Ellen Terry, taken by Samuel Walker. Part of the Guy Little Collection, Department of Theatre and Performance, V&A
A PhD at the University of Brighton in collaboration with the Department of Theatre and Performance, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Smallhythe Place (managed by the National Trust and holder of the Ellen Terry Collection).
Prof Lou Taylor, University of Brighton
Dr. Kate Dorney, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Performance, Victoria & Albert Museum
This research explores the role which Terry’s dress played in ‘fashioning’ her identity – as a mother, as a woman, as an actress portraying a role, as a celebrity, as a friend of artists and as respected ‘artist’ in her own right. In order to examine and set Terry’s personal life, acting career, and personal and theatrical dress in context, this study takes an object based material culture approach (as suggested by Daniel Miller and Jules Prown). This is founded upon a close examination of the extant theatrical costumes and garments worn by Ellen Terry which survive with the Ellen Terry Collection at Smallhythe Place, alongside clothing of comparable and contrasting contemporaries. It also encompasses a detailed analysis of contemporary visual and written material particularly newspaper reviews, correspondence and cartes de visites which will be used to develop and supplement the information revealed by the clothing.