Once again ... this is the story of a beetle wings dress. This time it's a stage costume, which once created a great sensation. The use of glamorous and glittering beetle wings as a Victorian costume decoration was not just a manifestation of the 19th-century décor aesthetics. On the doorsteps of Edwardian fashion age the world was struck by impressive drama and marvelous stage performance costume that caused a sensation. Indeed. What a great combination!
The famous British actress Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928) was immortalized in the role of Lady Macbeth by John Singer Sargent who made a painted portrait of her just after attendance of the play "Macbeth". Sargent was one of the most famous society painters of the late 19th century. He attended the premiere of the new production of the play "Macbeth" at the Lyceum Theater in London on December 29, 1888... The painter was deeply thrilled at the sight of Ellen Terry in the role of Lady Macbeth. The famous American painter was deeply impressed by the depiction of the role of Lady Macbeth. And, of course, he was thrilled by the look of British actress and her iridescent greenish blue stage costume that was embroidered with the glittering beetle wings.
Shortly after the show, followed an invitation to pose for the creation of the portrait. In 1889, the world became acquainted with a completely different lady Macbeth! Her dramatically highlighted posture, holding a crown of the next Scottish Queen raised above head, was Sargent's invention and as such, it was not seen previously in the "Macbeth"
Legendary Stage Costume
Lady Macbeth's dress before restoration
So, Ellen Terry wore the legendary glittering green beetle wing stage costume that caused such a sensation... The Celtic Queen's dress with long, downward wrapped sleeves, a simple cut line and a low-waisted, heavy metal belt were inspired by Pre-raffaelite Movement and a Medieval atmosphere. Also it was a direct echo of the ideal of the Aesthetic Movement, so well-known at that time. As such it glorified the steam of the Medieval and early Italian Renaissance epoch. A particularly dramatic sentiment was also attributed to the deep red velvet cape with the relics of the heraldic golden glittering griffins / Scottish lions.
Share this story & Flip it!
Other Stories In This Section
My name is Edīte Parute and I am a fashion historian and researcher from Latvia, association member at "The Association of Dress Historians" (UK) and author of the book "Stila un modes enciklopēdija"/"Encyclopedia of Style and Fashion" (2010) as well as author of many publications.
Message to Ad-Block users:
Almost nothing in this world is free, but there are still things that are original, interesting, useful for many of us and they are created by people who give them to the world for free. They create it by investing their knowledge and effort so that you can use it - to learn, to find out what's new ...
The ads shown on this site help me to create a new content, and they are just as useful to learn about new opportunities, goods and services. This site uses the most intelligent and polite way of displaying ads and it NEVER spams you with them! If you like the content that you can read on this page (for free), please be so kind and disable your Ad-block or just whitelist this site. By doing so, you will prove that this content is of interest to you. If not, then keep in mind that
ad-blocking prevents me from continuing to produce the content that I do provide free of charge. Therefore a creation of a new content
will be slower and more difficult to implement, due to your Ad-block. Thank you for understanding!