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Tennants auctioneers brings men’s fashion to the fore

January 16, 2020

Items on display from the Man & Boy exhibition, photographed at the upper gallery at The Garden Rooms at Tennants Auctioneers.

Here at Gorgeous Yorkshire, there’s nothing we love more than an auction house but Tennants Auctioneers at Leyburn is really something else.
It’s not just auctioneering, for a start. It’s a major destination in its own right, thanks to The Garden Rooms, which have been open since 2014, offering multi-purpose a venue for weddings, conferences, fairs, events and exhibitions. There’s also a really lovely cafe!
Tennants Auctioneers is the largest family owned auction house in the UK, and it hosts a wide variety of auctions but especially antiques and collectables. On February 8, there’s another of its fabulous costume and textiles auctions coming up.
Tennants also works with educational and cultural bodies including schools, universities and museums,hosting loan exhibitions from museums. Past exhibitions have included paintings by artist Norman Cornish, the first ever exhibition of the furniture of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson, and annual loan displays from The Bowes Museum.
Launching today (it’s Jan 16 as I write) and running for a month, Man & Boy: Male Dress 1730-1930 tells the story of clothes worn by men and boys at work and play, at war and peace, in the schoolroom and in mourning, over two centuries.
It brings together real garments drawn from two private collections and explores not only the luxurious attire of the elite, but also the plain workaday clothes of the ordinary man and boy.

More items on display at the Man & Boy exhibition at Tennants.

“With an increasing interest in the construction of gender, the exhibition will offer a rare and timely opportunity to look in detail at changing historical attitudes to the representation of masculinity from early childhood to adulthood,” says Tennants, adding: “The exhibition will introduce visitors to the attire of fops, dandies and swells, to bridegroom’s clothing across the centuries, to the costumes worn on trips to the seaside and much more. A special focus will also be given to clothing made or worn in Yorkshire.”
It’s great to see male dress step out from the side lines to centre stage – apparently there has been only one previous public exhibition focusing solely on male dress, and that took place more than 40 years ago in New York.
The exhibition at Tennants is free but there will also be a ticketed illustrated talk on February 15 at 2pm by Mark Wallis and Alasdair Peebles, who will examine two forms of male dress in 1850s England – printed shirts for gentleman and silk dresses worn by young boys. Called Shirted & Skirted: Men’s Printed Shirts and Boys Silk Dresses in mid Victorian England, tickets cost £12 to include tea, coffee and cakes.
To book tickets for the Shirted & Skirted talk, contact Tennants on 01969 6211746 or email info@tennantsgardenrooms.com. Further details on www.tennantsgardenrooms.com.

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