The Peacock Dress Of Lady Mary Curzon: Magic Of Indian Embroiders and House of Worth

July 2, 2024
3 mins read
The peacock dress of Lady Mary Curzon

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Peacock Dress Of Lady Mary Curzon

The History Of The Peacock DressHistory of Famous Jewels and Collections

The Peacock Dress of Lady Mary Curzon is made up of pure gold and silver thread that has been embroidered by Kishan Chand, an Indian artisan. This dress was designed by Jean-Philippe Worth. This dress was specially designed for Mary Curzon to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII at the Delhi Durbar in the year 1903. It is believed that the dress captured everyone’s attention at the Delhi Durbar ball that year.

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The Makers Of The Iconic Peacock Dress V&A — The House of Worth – Charlie Smith Design

Kishan Chand was a master craftsman who belonged to India. He was a renowned and well-known craftsman who was known for his embroidery skills. His work on this peacock dress truly reflects his outstanding skills and craftsmanship. Along with him, there was a team of many skilful craftspeople who joined him to make the intricate details that the dress carries today.

Jean-Philippe Worth was the son of Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of the House of Worth. He is known for being a well-known Parisian fashion house. The House of Worth was a leading fashion house back then. It was mainly known for its luxurious designs.

Highlights Of The Peacock Dress of Lady Mary Curzon Mary Curzon's peacock dress | Kedleston | National Trust

The Peacock Dress had many designs, but stealing the spotlight, there is a significant representation of the features of a peacock. The peacock carries great symbolism in India; to know more about it, read the next section of the article. The embroidery was primarily done by the skilled embroiders of Delhi and Agra.  

In the Peacock dress, there are iridescent green beetle wings that are added to the dress to symbolise the eye of the peacock feather. This beautiful appearance makes it feel as if these are stunning emeralds. However, the beauty of it isn’t any less than emeralds itself.

The Peacock dress was believed to be a reference to the giant Peacock throne that was in the Diwan-I-Khas. Back then, Diwan-I-Khas used to be the palace where the ball was organised. The gown is assembled from the panels of the Chiffon thread that has been carefully organised and embroidered by the skilled craftsperson of the Kishan Chand.  

Along with Zardozi (weaving with Gold wire/thread), real peacock feathers are also used. These feathers have been carefully glued to the fabric. Due to the heavy embroidery with metals such as gold and silver, the dress is prone to damage with the changing environment and can get damaged significantly.

The fabric of the Peacock dress is champagne coloured and offers a hint of silk taffeta. It has also been lined with heavily woven Indian cotton and muslin. These fabrics were popular for use in the making of royal Mughal court garments. Finally, the dress weighed about 10 pounds due to the heavy and intricate metallic threadwork; this weight is also about the same weight as an actual peacock.

Symbolism of The Peacock

The peacock is associated with exoticness, fantasy and romance. The symbolism of peacocks has been a major one in India. In Indian textiles, one can easily spot the use of peacocks as motifs. It is believed that the peacock is associated with the Goddess Saraswati and Lord Krishna.

Somewhere during 1910, the peacock, as a symbol of exotic feminity, became popular. It was during that time when stars started embodying the peacock. This change was a significant one as prior to this, the father of the peacocks was seen as a possession of the ‘Evil eye’ and was believed to bring bad luck.

Also read The Beauty of Indian Textiles: From Banarasi Silk to Kalamkari; 10 Indian Textiles You Need To Know

Lesser known Facts About The Peacock Dress Of Lady Mary CurzonThe Peacock dress of Lady Mary Curzon

The Peacock dress beautifully stands today at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire as a part of the collection. The Kedlestone Hall is said to be the ancestral home of the Curzon family. Therefore, the dress is a part of their preserved legacy even today.

The dress was recently removed from the mannequin in January 2022, where it had stood for many decades, and therefore, it is an incredible opportunity for everyone to learn more about it. It has been believed that the Peacock dress, when originally made, was much brighter than what we are able to see today as it has faded now.

Furthermore, the reason for this is the harmful impact of UV lights. A team has been working along with the leading textile specialists of the National Trust to provide the environment that this needs and to understand the current condition of the Peacock dress to its fullest.

Final Thoughts

The Peacock dress is stunning and has been a prime example of the fusion of cultures. It blended western fashion with the efforts and skills of Indian artists. The dress is a true testament to the immense wealth and status.It is one of the most luxurious items.

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A 21-year-old Delhiite pursuing her Master's in Sociology from Dr B.R. Ambedkar University, Delhi. She aims to become a Sociologist and stays immersed in the world of ideas and curiosity. She is passionate about reading, writing, cooking, and continuous learning. She is also an avid animal lover at heart. Strongly believes and follows this quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who says, “I am a strong believer in the ability of human beings to change for the better. I am a strong believer in trying to change what we are dissatisfied with.”

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