Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Visit to Winterthur Museum's Costumes of Downton Abbey Exhibit AND a Very Special Giveaway Contest!

Earlier this month I had the great good fortune to take a bus trip with a group of like minded gardening enthusiasts and Downton Abbey series fans to visit Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware. (The estate has its own post office!) As an added bonus, the museum was hosting an exclusive exhibit, Costumes of Downtown Abbey, which inspired today's very special GIVEAWAY CONTEST for a chance to win one of my porcelain ceramic creations.


A grove of magnolia nearing the end of its bloom - we made it just in time!
When we set off in the wee hours that morning, the weather was expected to be a little “iffy” but by the time we arrived we could not have ordered a more perfect day.

Designed by H. F. du Pont to resemble clouds in the sky, each bed is comprised of a separate variety of Narcissus.
Winterthur (pronounced “Winter-tour”) had its beginnings in the early 19th century soon after Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours and his family arrived in America and settled in the Brandywine Valley. 

H. F. du Pont had scores of Virginia Bluebells brought in from his cousin's nearby estate and transplanted at Winterthur.
Now situated on 982 acres, including 60 acres of naturalistic garden, it was originally comprised of 2,500 acres when it functioned as a working farm and estate.

Faerie Cottage at the Enchanted Woods, a unique children's garden installed in 2001.
Henry Francis du Pont inherited the estate in 1927 and dramatically increased the size of the property and its renowned collections of American decorative arts, then opened the estate to the public in 1951.

The privileged lifestyle of the American Du Pont family during the first half of the 20th century is contrasted with that of the fictional character’s in the award-winning British television series Downton Abbey


Season 1 Finale: Lord Crawley announces "....we are at war with Germany."
The collection of historically inspired costumes on display at Winterthur’s Costumes of Downton Abbey is accompanied by photographs, vignettes and floor to ceiling excerpts from scripts, allowing visitors a chance to step into and experience a world of afternoon tea in the drawing room and garden parties on the lawn.

Whether upstairs or down, all were represented in the collection.
This intimate look at the costumes reveals the attention to detail and authenticity attributed to many of the designs. While some of the costumes may be embellished with vintage fragments of lace or other finery,  some of them are actual vintage garments. In one instance a coat with a tear at the bottom necessitated that the character be filmed sitting behind a table.

Absolutely my favorite of all the displays, Mathew's Proposal! The much-adored scene played in a continuous loop in an atmosphere made even more magical by the exhibit's superb lighting effects.
Costumes of Downton Abbey was an original idea conceived by a team of creatives within the Winterthur organization and is the only exhibit of its kind. It runs through January 2015 and I urge everyone to fit this wonderful exhibit into your calender!

As both a gardener and a huge fan of the Downton Abbey series, my trip to Winterthur was certainly a day to be remembered.


I'd like to celebrate my gratitude to all of you for visiting my blog and most especially my gratitude for the ability to express my joy of English garden-inspired porcelain ceramic art. One lucky winner will receive a small custom handbuilt porcelain ceramic platter similar to the one shown above, created by me at my studio here at The Crane's Nest.

This costume worn by ? created quite a stir in the Downton Abbey household!
To enter the contest, you simply need to do 2 things: (1) comment below and name your favorite Downton Abbey character, and (2) email me (claybakin247 at and tell me the FULL name (including title) of the character who wore the costume in the above photo.

COMMENTS: You may need to click on the post title above to reload the page in order for the Comments section to load. Also, you don't need a Disqus account to comment - you can simply comment as a guest.

Winner will be announced on June 30. I hope you enjoyed reading about Winterthur today!

Time to say Goodbye!
One last note before I go - be sure to visit Vicki over at 2 Bags Full because she is having a HUGE giveaway contest. You'll have another chance to win one of my creations as well as numerous other lovely items that Vicki has posted for the possibility to win.


This contest is now closed, and the lucky winner is:

Linda Meyers



Mary Ann Potter said...

My favorite character is the Dowager Countess, so fantastically interpreted by Dame Maggie Smith!

Vicki Boster said...

Beautiful lady-- I am so jealous of your wonderful trip-- I'd love to visit Winterthur someday. The exhibit looks fabulous-- I would feel like I had died and gone to heaven to be amongst on the DA displays!!

I'm not entering the contest-- I'm already SO blessed with your beautiful creations and generosity-- but I do want to say that I'm in love with the character played by Maggie Smith-- I love her dry sense of humor-- I hang on every word she says!!

Whoever wins your beautiful platter-- will be thrilled beyond words!


CynthiaCrane said...

Thank you darling Vicki! I love the Dowager Countess's dry sense of humor, too. My take away from the Exhibit's Gift Shop was a tote bag with her lovely quote "What is a Week End" and the straw hat I'm wearing in the photo above.

Karen Miller said...

Darn it -- I knew I should be watching that show! To be completely honest I don't watch much TV at all. Darn, darn, darn... Here is one case where watching TV would be a plus... Rats!!

Just loving the pictures of your visit to Winterthur AND your lovely porcelain pieces. They are just beautiful. Especially those birds ;) Take care Cynthia...

Ginny Gregory said...

That little Faerie Cottage looks straight out of Lord of the Rings. I want one! I need to start watching this show. The detailing around your platter looks amazing! Pretty little blue flowers <3

Mosaic Magpie said...

My favorite character is Edith. I always liked her spunk and attitude. Being in Mary's shadow and having cute Sybil as a younger sister had to be tough. Mrs. Pattmore is another character that has spunk and makes you want to hug her. I used to love Downton Abbey, I would watch it and tape it so I could watch it over and over....then the rape of Anna, happened. I could not watch the show after that and it is still upsetting to me. The costumes, the sets, the characters all combined into one fine show.
Deb (Mosaic Magpie)

betty the wood fairy said...

I love Downton Abbey costumes, the maid aprons, all white and crisp and
starchy are my favourites. I would so love to be your giveaway winner
so would you please count me in for a chance. Thankyou Betty

Lana Manis said...

Oooh, I know this one! My daughter and I watch every episode. :) It's Lady Sybil Crawley Branson (or however you put it). My favorite character was Sybil, but snce she out of the picture, I really like Anna and Mrs. Hughes.

CynthiaCrane said...

LOL! God love ya Lana you just gave away the answer to the rest of the commenters! That's why I asked for it to be emailed to me. No worries, I'll just put all your names in a hat and draw a winner. I'm delighted you commented and was just thinking about you recently and wondering how you're doing!

Beth Laverty said...

I am sure I am weird but I have only watched ONE episode of Downton Abby. I worked in television for MANY years but hardly watch at all now. I always have a book or two in progress so would rather read I guess. I was able to visit Winterthur a number of years ago... in the spring... so missed the beautiful flowers of later in the season but loved all the spring glory. I only live three hours or so away so really should go back sometime.

thank you for visiting my blog today.

Wendy said...

What a lovely post...I would love to go and see the collection as I am a huge fan of the show...and I love all the period costumes as it was a time of glamour even with the war....I actually have two favorites the first being the Dowager Countess! Maggie Smith does such an awesome job of her...I love that she can keep a straight face during some of her scenes...she is exactly what I would think of a Dowager Countess would second favorite is Lady Mary...she has a toughness about her that also makes her vulnerable at the same time...and I know the answer to the question and will be emailing you...thank you for the chance to win such a stunning piece of your work...

Linda Meyers said...

It was hard to decide a favorite, but since one of my favorites hasn't been picked yet, I will go for him, Mr. Bates. Love him!

Linda Meyers said...

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Mosaic Magpie said...

Congratulations Linda!