Love and Marriage, the latest exhibition at Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery will delight anyone, even the most “confirmed Batchelor”. It will especially please fans of romantic television programmes such as “First Dates”, “Don’t Tell the Bride”, “Say Yes to the Dress”, “Dinner Date”, or even “Love Island”.
The stunning wedding dresses on display would capture anyone’s attention; from hand embroidered Chinese silk imported in the 1860s to make a dress fit for a Mayor’s wife, to a shocking pink dress for a fashion-conscious 1970s bride. Drawing on Horsham Museum’s extensive collection of wedding dresses that span 200 years, all donated by the public, this exhibition is a visual treat. On display are very rare grey Quaker bride and groom outfits dating to the 1820s, 15 years before Queen Victoria set the new trend for white dresses.
Yet, Love and Marriage offers more than just these sartorial delights. The museum is showcasing photographs spanning 150 years of Horsham’s history that show couples, families and friends enjoying their special day together. Through original documents and fascinating antique texts, the exhibition will look at the ways in which the institutions of love and marriage have changed over the centuries, and offer insights into our romantic lives.
For many people marriage marked the end of the arduous task of finding a partner. Visitors can see the satirical prints from the cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson’s work, Dr Syntax, whose efforts in seeking a bride amused Regency England. For those with land and property, arranged marriages could cement an economic transaction, and ensure the preservation of the family line. Love and Marriage looks at the history of wedded bliss, and the varied methods, and reasons for entering into marriage.
Thanks to the generosity of the people of Horsham District, the exhibition also contains a digital slideshow of photographs of weddings spanning the generations. These wonderful images show the changing fashions and tastes of the last 100 years. With books written about love and romance, an 18th century sexual guide, documents outlining 17th century marriage settlements, and a range of wedding certificates dating from the Victorian era through to modern to Civil Partnerships, Love and Marriage is an exhibition for all those who have a romantic heart, and will remind them of their own first loves, first dates and wedding days.
Love and Marriage opens on 21st April and will run until 7th July 2018.
Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, free admission. For more information: www.horshammuseum.org