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Out Shopping: The Dresses of Marion and Maude Sambourne 1880-1910

Start Date 23 March 2024
End Date 20 October 2024
Venue Leighton House, Sambourne House
Location London,England
Curator Daniel Robbins
Display of mannequins dressed in 20th century women's fashion.
Close up detail of two mannequins wearing 20th century women's fashion.
Marion and Maud Sambourne (Sambourne House, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)


Out Shopping: The Dresses of Marion and Maud Sambourne (1880-1910) will unveil the Sambourne House collection of dresses belonging to Marion and Maud Sambourne, showcasing hardly seen, rare surviving examples by leading dressmakers of the era. For the first time in the history of the museums, the exhibition will span across both Leighton House and Sambourne House, inviting visitors to embark on a immersive journey. Meet Marion and Maud Marion Sambourne was the wife of Victorian illustrator Linley Sambourne. Their daughter, Maud, shared an artistic flair which she abandoned in pursuit of a prosperous marriage with Leonard Messel.

This major exhibition will feature a curated selection of dresses they wore for special moments and social occasions, many of them of national significance as rare surviving examples by leading designers of the era – often female. An intimate story of the lives of a middle-class mother and her affluent daughter, navigating through the late Victorian period and into the 20th century, a moment in history that significantly shaped the way fashion and shopping is consumed today.

Exhibition Highlights

Highlights in the exhibition include the exquisite blue skirt and jacket with lace cuffs made by eminent court and society dressmaker Sarah Fullerton Monteith Young, which Marion wore to her daughter’s wedding (1898); Maud’s brown velvet embellished chiffon day dress by Mascotte (1906), and the crepe silk lilac tea gown (c.1899-1904) which she wore during her pregnancy, the only maternity piece that has survived in the collection. To go on display, all the dresses required extensive conservation, which is being carried out by leading textile conservator Janie Lightfoot in her London studio. Encompassing extensive research and painstaking work, this side of the project has been funded with the help of The Friends of Leighton House, grants from the Pilgrim Trust and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation and an Elizabeth Hammond grant from The Costume Society.

The “Out Shopping experience”

For the first time in the history of the museums, Out Shopping will span across three spaces, offering a thorough, immersive experience into the worlds of dress making and early 20th century shopping experience. At Leighton House, the collection of dresses of Marion and Maud Sambourne will be on display in the Verey Exhibition Gallery alongside objects from the Sambourne House collections and archive, such as letters, receipts and drawings. The Tavolozza Drawings Gallery will present ‘Out in Paris’, a selection of street photography by artist Linley Sambourne, taken during a weekend out in Paris in 1906. Linley was an avid photographer, often using photos he took as an aid for the production of his Punch cartoons and illustrations. The exhibition journey continues at nearby Sambourne House, with a small display in the main bedroom, as well as a documentary film on the conservation of the dresses, providing with additional insights into the family life of the Sambournes and the opportunity to explore their ‘house beautiful’, designed in the so-called Aesthetic style.

Book a Joint Admission Ticket and enjoy the ‘Out Shopping experience’, with full access to Leighton House, Sambourne House, exhibition galleries, displays and documentary film.

Price: Included within admission ticket.


Images courtesy of Leighton House, and Sambourne House, London. Jaron James (©RBKC).