English Dance & Song, 70 (4). pp. 18-19, (2008)
This illustrated article disusses a English mummers’ costume, bearing the date 1829, that recently turned up at an antiques gallery in New York. Although the provenance is unknown, it is similar to the costumes of the clowns who accompanied swords dancers and plough plays in Yorkshire and the East Midlands. The closest match is with the clowns of the village of Bellerby, North Yorkshire, so it may have come from near there.
In September 2008, I was approached for an opinion on an old English mummer’s costume by Cora Ginsburg LLC of New York, a gallery specialising in antique fashion and textiles. I was sent a set of photographs and their textile historian’s report. There is no information on provenance, other than it was probably acquired in England in the 1960s by the gallery’s founder, most likely from a dealer or auction house, but possibly privately. The costume comprises a jacket, trousers and a pointed cap, all made of natural linen decorated with coloured felt appliqué motifs, fringes and woollen braids.