Bingley textile artist Hannah Lamb has been commissioned by the Brontë Parsonage Museum to create an installation inspired by their new exhibition Defying Expectations: Inside Charlotte Brontë's Wardrobe.
Textiles and clothing can hold powerful memories, reminding us of people, places and special moments in our lives. The Brontë Parsonage Museum collections include many small fragments of cloth, associated with Charlotte Brontë. Hannah was inspired by these precious scraps of cloth and the way they have been treasured as keepsakes of a literary heroine.
Today, despite living in world of ‘fast-fashion’ and disposable attitudes to clothing, many of us still keep hold of things that help us remember people, places and moments in time.
In June 2022, Hannah Lamb invited visitors to tell her about a piece of clothing that was special to them. The resulting stories were sometimes heartwarming and joyful, but also often deeply touching; “My mother was a seamstress…I still have a wool coat she wore often. When I wear it, I feel her hugging me.”
Image courtesy of
The clothing written about ranges from everyday favourites: “My grey hoodie…It helps keep me warm when I am out walking the dog,” to those worn on special occasions; “My purple and Black wedding skirt and corset, handmade by myself”. There are many references to handmade items, that have a special resonance, as well as items repurposed and adapted from vintage materials; “1920’s Chinese silk lounge dress… subsequently refashioned into a short cloak”. Home dressmaking and up-cycling or repurposing of materials would have been commonplace in the Brontës’ time.
Image courtesy of Hannah Lamb
With the help of students from Bradford School of Art, Hannah embroidered these stories onto fabric and created Fragment of a Dress; a dress of memories in the spirit of a mid-19th century silhouette.
Fragment of a Dress will be on display in the Servants Room in the Bronte Parsonage Museum until the end of December 2022. To book tickets to the museum to see Hannah's installation, visit www.bronte.org.uk.