Friday 22 - Monday 25 October 2021

Missing Persons: Who were the typical Tudors?

Join Jane and Ninya as they undertake a forensic analysis of the bodies of evidence for the typical Tudors in the historic Shire Hall of Nottingham for the official launch of The Typical Tudor, which focuses on the dress of ordinary men and women. Follow their progress as they search for the missing persons lost to history for so long. Be part of an exciting courtroom drama at the National Justice Museum and witness the evidence for these elusive missing persons go on public trial. Experts in pictorial, archaeological and documentary material will plead their cases and undergo cross-examination to test their reliability as witnesses to the past appearance of people for whom only remnants and rags remain. 

Sources for people’s appearance 500 years ago offer meagre clues compared to the wealth of material recording the elite. The Tudor Tailor’s investigations uncover what is available to help paint a picture of their clothes. Key questions in this hunt for clues are: How representative is what remains? Is any of it is typical of the lower and middling sort who lived in the Early Modern era? And how does it help reconstruct their looks and lives?

Experts in pictorial, archaeological and documentary material will plead their cases and undergo cross-examination to test their reliability as witnesses to the past appearance of people for whom only remnants and rags remain. The contradictions and confusions presented by these three main sources must be approached with caution. How can this patchy evidence provide a picture of what was usual in the Tudor era? What was the range of options for everyday and best dress? All averages are based on a broad sweep of data which includes outliers as well as those firmly in the mainstream. Some extant evidence is extraordinary and therefore atypical but still relevant. The vast majority of what once existed in the wardrobes of ordinary people is long gone and only indirect indications remain. Can all these fragments fit together?

Even the most robust interrogation of the best evidence provides only a shadowy glimpse of who these people were and what they wore. Help the team put the puzzle together!

Visit our Facebook page for updates and check in here for regular announcements about the speakers, programme and venues. Put the date in your diary and plan your trip to Nottingham – home of Robin Hood (allegedly) – a Champion of the Ordinary Man and Woman!

Due to COVID-19 the conference has been moved to October 2021

As there is uncertainty about what social distancing rules will be in place later in the year, there may be some adjustments to the conference programme which we will confirm nearer the time.

The conference programme

Friday 22 October 2021

Registration and drinks reception (6pm to 8pm)

Sign in at the Society of Artists Gallery, where there is an opportunity to see The Typical Tudor exhibition with garments from the new book on display.

Saturday 23 October 2021

The Courtroom Drama (9.45am to 6pm)

Presided over by retired circuit judge Andrew Hamilton with counsels for the defence and prosecution Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies

Confirmed expert witnesses include:

Hilary Davidson, dress historian and doctoral researcher at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and previously curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts at Museum of London from 2007 to 2012

Kathy Davies, author of Artisan Art: Vernacular Wall Paintings in the Welsh Marches 1550-1650

Tarnya Cooper, Curatorial and Collections Director, National Trust and author of Citizen Portrait: Portrait Painting and the Urban Elite of Tudor and Jacobean England and Wales

Maria Hayward, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Southampton

Alexzandra Hildred, Head of Research at The Mary Rose and author of the forthcoming book on the ship’s crew

Susan North, Curator of Fashion at the V&A Museum

Pat Poppy, independent scholar and costume history blogger

Gala dinner (7.30pm to 11.30pm)

Robert Brackenbury, 13th generation owner of Holme Pierrepont Hall welcomes guests to the Long Gallery overlooking the magnificent courtyard garden for a three-course gala dinner with pre-dinner drinks followed by after dinner speaker, Amber Butchart, presenter of BBC TV’s A Stitch in Time.

Sunday 25 October 2021

The Textile Tours & Treats (10am to 5pm)

View The Typical Tudor exhibition featuring garments from the book at the Society of Artists’ gallery in the shadow of Nottingham Castle. Browse and purchase supplies in the Tudor Tailor shop. Jane and Ninya will be hosting visits to the exhibition and there will be opportunities for book signings and selfies!

Visit Roger Watson Laces and meet Ashley Watson, expert and proprietor of one of the last Nottingham lace workshops still in operation in the city’s famous Lace Market. See a selection of historic designs together with items from the company’s archives and try your hand at scalloping lace. There will also be lace on sale at this behind-the-scenes event, which is exclusive to friends of The Tudor Tailor.

Explore part of the hidden maze of 500 underground caves which lie beneath the city of Nottingham. This guided tour under the streets and back in time reveals the only medieval underground tannery in the country.

Join award-winning tour guide and storyteller Ezekial Bone as he provides an insight into the textile traditions of Nottingham through the ages. The private tour for conference delegates takes in the historic sites of the famous Lace Market in the city centre.

Optional extra event: Behind the scenes at Perry Miniatures

The Tudor Tailor has teamed up with Perry Miniatures to offer an exclusive visit to Michael Perry’s war games room in Wollaton, Nottingham on Sunday 24 October as an extra treat in the conference programme. Michael, whose drawings of reconstructed 16th century garments are a signature part of The Tudor Tailor’s publications, will show his work in progress on new military figures, host a tour of his games room, which houses an impressive collection of miniatures, buildings and terrain. Tickets for this visit are £15 with refreshments provided and transport by minibus from the Society of Artists’ Gallery - leaving at 3.30pm and returning at 5.30pm. There are 13 places available, which may be booked by conference ticket holders for their accompanying “Plus Ones”. Sign up at the event posting on the conference Facebook page to secure a place for this exclusive visit.

Nottingham also offers a host of historic and original retail outlets and eateries including Joe’s Store (aka The Tin-Tin Shop), Inspired and Chocolate Utopia.

Monday 25 October 2021

Optional extra event: Framework Knitters Museum (10am to 12.30pm)

There will be a special visit to the Framework Knitters Museum at Ruddington, Nottingham. There will be a small additional charge of £10 for this bonus conference event and places will be limited. Book yours via the Missing Persons Facebook page (available to conference ticket holders only).

The visit will include demonstrations of the knitting frames and machines, a tour of the knitters’ cottages and the textile collection. The visit will be hosted by Julia Holm from Uppsala University’s Textile Studies department, who works with 19th and 20th century archival sources and preserved garments to recreate machine knitted clothing for Skansen open air museum in Stockholm, focusing on women's coats, waistcoats, and jackets circa 1904.

Tickets are £10 per person – conference ticket holders can sign up at the Missing Persons private Facebook page

Book your place now

Registration for Missing Persons: Who were the typical Tudors? costs £269 (US$320/€287), including VAT*. There are limited tickets available, so don't delay! Included in the price is morning and afternoon tea, coffee, refreshments, a buffet lunch and the three-course gala dinner on Saturday.
*US$ and € prices are indicative as they will depend on the current currency conversion rate at the time of purchase.
Please note that a partial refund will be given if a cancellation is made in writing 70 days or more before the event. Partial refunds for cancellations made at shorter notice will be given on a discretionary basis dependant on whether the ticket can be resold or not.

Please let us know if you have special needs of any kind when you book. The Tudor Tailor aims to make appropriate provisions provided the details are noted 30 days before the event.

Please note that accommodation is not provided but Nottingham has plenty of hotels located in and around the city centre to suit a range of budgets.

More details about the speakers and other activities plus some exclusive add-on events will be provided as the programme is confirmed. Please subscribe to The Tudor Tailor’s newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox.