Friday, June 24, 2011

Ellen Terry and the Beetlewing Gown

Ellen Terry at 16 years of age posing for Julia Margaret Cameron
'Ellen Terry is the most beautiful name in the world; it rings like a chime through the last quarter of the nineteenth century.' George Bernard Shaw
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, John Singer Sargent, 1889
A woman I have always been fascinated with is Dame Ellen Terry (27th February 1847 - 21st July 1928). Ellen Terry was the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain and recently a dress that she wore as Lady Macbeth in 1880s has been restored. This is no ordinary dress but an emerald gown shimmering with the iridescent naturally sloughed-off wings of 1,000 beetles. This magnificent dress took 1,300 hours of painstaking work funded by the National Trust and is now back at on display at Ellen's home in Smallhythe Place in Kent. Oh how I long to see it with my own eyes!

You can read great article about Ellen Terry and this gown from The Guardian here.



Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth in the beetlewing dress