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Object: Costume design for Pageant of British Queens, ’Gailliard Dancer’

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence Image © Te Papa

Title Costume design for Pageant of British Queens, ’Gailliard Dancer’
Production Rodie, Mollie (artist), 1939, Wellington
Medium summary poster paint on paper
Materials paper, poster colour, ink
Classification drawings, design drawings, fashion illustrations
Technique illustration
Dimensions Overall: 335mm (Height) x 249mm (Width)
Credit line Gift of Marion F. Mackenzie (née Rodie), 2009
Registration number GH016497

This costume sketch was created by Mollie Rodie for the 'Spirit of Empire' pageant held as part of the Wellington Centennial Exhibition, November 1939 - March 1940.

The pageant included a parade of British queens and ballets. The pageant was so successful that the costumes were reused again for a Red Cross pageant in September 1940, and again for the 'Procession of Queens of Britain' at the Victory Queen Carnival grand finale, Wellington Town Hall, June 1941.

Pageants and queen carnivals were popular ways to raise money during the Second World War (1939-45).

Elizabethan inspiration

The Evening Post reported on the final costumes worn by the dancers: 'They wore Elizabethan costumes of old gold satin with slashed sleeves and ruffs, the full skirts were looped up over kirtles to reveal black petticoats, on which, embroidered in white, were dramatic heraldic designs of the lion and the unicorn. Their satin turban head-dresses were of Moorish inspiration' (27 November 1939).

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