The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2012 > Joséphine Bowes & The Costumier

Joséphine Bowes & The Costumier


Luca Costigliolo, an internationally celebrated theatrical and historical costumier, re-created the ball gown that Joséphine Bowes is wearing in her portrait seen in the John & Joséphine galleries.





The dress was made with the finest Italian silk, specially woven in Como, using sewing techniques employed at the time.

Luca, an expert on historical sewing methods, has appeared in BBC 2’s Victorian and Edwardian Farm series and has been involved in creating the wardrobe of Lucretia Borgia (played by actress Holliday Grainger) for the TV series The Borgia’s. He is a founder member and a teacher at The School of Historical Dress in London.

For the duration of the exhibition, Luca was happy to answer questions and explain his method of working. His daily progress was chronicled on-line via our social media channels, Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Bowes Museum grounds are open!


Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.