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A Catalogue of Charles Frederick Worth's Collections Today

Following on from the volunteer group's brilliant visit to the V&A in October, they've been researching where to find other examples of his work. Check out what they've discovered so far:


Dresses

Name

Location

Date

Details

Link

Fancy Dress Costume

MET Museum

1870

​Unknown who wore this design, where or for what occasion.

A Turkish style costume featuring blue trousers.

Ball Gown

MET Museum

1872

Worn by Mrs William De Forest Manice in both the English and Royal Courts. The dress is slightly unusual in that CFW seems to have been inspired by Middle Eastern enamels, rather than western designs.

The following pieces were thought to have come after the retirement / death of CFW. They were likely designed by his sons.

Name

Location

Date

Details

Link

“Queen of Zenobia”

Chatsworth House

1897

On the 2/7/1897 the Duke and duchess of Devonshire held a fancy dress ball to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Louise Cavandish’s Worth dress was created especially for the event, and is described as: “Fancy flowered in a robe of cloth of silver with an overdress of gauze shot through with green and gold with a train of turquoise velvet falling from the shoulders, every part was studded with precious stones”


Other dresses at the ball may also have been made by CFW.An article with pictures was published in the Times newspaper about the event.

“The Peacock Dress”

Kedleston Hall, National Trust

1903

Worn by Mary Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy of India, at a ball in Delhi on 6 January 1903 to mark the coronation of King Edward VII.


Possibly one of the most well-known dresses from the House of Worth.The pattern of a peacock’s feather was created using hundreds of iridescent beetle wing cases, and was created by Jean-Phillip Worth.

Other Work

Name

Location

Date

Details

Link

Sketches of Dresses

V & A

Various

The V&A holds a collection of sketches of CFW dresses, most likely created in the design process, or to show customers. It is unknown whether they were drawn by CFW or someone else.


The V&A retrieved these from their archives for our volunteers to view on a special research day, see our earlier blog for more details.

Photos of Dresses

V & A

Various

The V&A holds a collection of photos of CFW creations. These show the front and back of the design in black and white. They may have been taken as a record.


The V&A retrieved these from their archives for our volunteers to view on a special research day, see our blog for more details.

Leads We're Following Up in the Research Team


Name

Location

Date

Details

Question / Task

Queen Victoria’s Watercolours

Royal Collections Trust

1855

In 1855 Victoria and Albert went to Paris to see the exposition, where CFW won awards. There was a ball at Versailles in her honour and 44 water colours were created to commemorate the event and given to her. They now belong to the Royal Collections Trust and can be seen online as part of an exhibition mounted in 2018.

Do any of these watercolours show CFW dresses? Could they even show dresses that we saw sketches of at the V&A on our last volunteer research day?!

Adding to Our Catalogue

MET Museum

Various

The MET Museum has the largest known collection of Worth outfits today. These can be easily viewed online.

The relevant outfits need to be added to our catalogue (above) so that researchers can easily find examples of Worth’s surviving work today.

The Family Tree of CFW

Archives / Ancestry

Early 1800s

Looking into the family records of CFW including baptisimal records.

Why was Charles called Charles? Was it a family name?

It's fantastic to see how many CFW originals have survived for us to appreciate today. The gallery below shows a slideshow of some of his most beautiful works.



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