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Pre-Raphaelite Bridal Gowns "Proserpine" (Persephone)

petrol-blue velvet medieval style historical wedding dress pre-raphaelite style wedding dress in blue green crushed velvet

The original "Raffaella" gown, which has become something of a Rossetti signature style, is given a fresh angle in shot crushed velvet. I have frequently used fabric of this colour combination - in particular, in silk dupion (see "Turquoise" in Contemporary Gowns), but the velvet was new to me and very inspiring. In reality the shot petrol blue velvet shown has stronger tones of red coming through than is apparent in the photographs.

blue-green velvet medieval gown with red accents

It was reminiscent to me of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's famous painting of Persephone which has always adorned my wall somewhere in some form. Although it could be argued that the fabric in the painting could be a silk chiffon/ georgette, the sinuous texture of the crushed velvet seemed to echo the original.

medieval shaped sleeves in velvet lined with red silk taffeta back view of petrol blue velvet corset laced with contrasting red ribbon

Red/black shot silk taffeta sleeve linings provided a beautiful foil for the petrol blue velvet. This red accent was maintained with contrast lacing. A perfectly toning red/petrol silk organza was ideal for the fitted, ruched inner sleeve. Antique buttons finished the wrist closure.**

detail of silk organza inner sleeve in petrol blue and red

My original Persephone in Birmingham has much paler colouring and brighter hair. The blue-green costume, contrasted with red and russet tones, is shown repeatedly on Rossetti's models.

There are a mere eight different versions of the Proserpina/Proserpine/Persephone paintings! The "original" is in the Tate Gallery, but I became very attached to, and frequently visited the version in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Modelled on Jane Morris it has lighter colouring on the gown and the model's hair is far brighter.

"One face looks out from all his canvases...
He feeds upon her face by day and night."

Christina Rossetti

 Persephone Wedding Gown Copyright © 2009-2012 Theresa Blake. All Rights Reserved.