The glamorous lifestyle and passions of King George II and his wife Queen Caroline reflect 18th-century London at its most vibrant. Establishing lavish new trends in design and architecture at Kensington Palace and entertaining the greatest artists, thinkers and socialites at court, the couple presided over a golden era until Caroline’s death in 1737.
From grand balls to artistic salons, Kensington Palace welcomed the great and the good, the wealthy and the fashionable. All the ladies wore a mantua, an elaborate dress over whalebone hoops – some so wide that the courtiers had to walk sideways through doors to make their grand entrances. They were, however, the perfect display of wealth. One of the highlights on display for ‘The Glorious Georges’ is the stunning Rockingham Mantua. Made of French silk and beautifully decorated in stripes and flower garlands of silver threads and silver lace, it’s thought to have been owned by Lady Rockingham, the prime minister’s wife, for her court appearances.
Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising
Roll up, roll up! The Museum of Brands has found itself a glam new home; still in Notting Hill but now with extra added space for its seemingly endless collection of wrappers, posters, toys, boxes and general collectibles. The main part of the display is the ‘time tunnel’, a maze of dark cabinets that are stuffed with colourful curios arranged in date order. With the arrival of each new decade an information panel helps to put the changing designs and new fashions into context. A highlight – literally light thanks to a sunny, south-facing gallery room – is a sort of shrine to a few particularly recognisable brands. One cabinet holds every iteration of can and bottle produced by Guinness, another is packed with cereal boxes from Kellogg’s, even Brasso gets its moment to , *ahem*, shine. This is a museum that will appeal to any lover of stuff, a nostalgia-stuffed tribute to the many, many things we buy.