Exhibition | The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry and Binding
From the exhibition press release:
The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry and Binding
Installation by Camilla Huey
Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York, 2 May — 12 September 2013
Couture artist Camilla Huey has produced gowns and corsets for celebrities such as Oprah, Janet Jackson, and Katy Perry in her famed garment district atelier, The House of Execution, a magical studio where fashion and history mingle. After almost ten years of extensive research, she began creating corsets to personify eight fascinating but nearly forgotten women writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Huey has been invited to exhibit these exquisitely constructed pieces in the period rooms of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest residence, which also serves as the backdrop for many of the women’s eventful lives, truly fulfilling the project’s vision.
The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Corsetry and Binding resurrects the lives of eight women of letters involved in the adventures of Aaron Burr, Vice President to Thomas Jefferson and the assassin of Alexander Hamilton. Appropriately staged at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, where Burr spent a brief, though ill-fated, marriage to Madame Jumel, the exhibition tells the compelling stories of these women through the craft of bookbinding and the art of couture corsets. Each ‘portrait’ is comprised of a period appropriate corset bound around hand transcribed letters and ephemera, symbolizing each woman’s ‘body of work’ in sheer volume.
• Esther Burr (1732-1758), Aaron Burr’s mother, silk and velvet corset
• Margaret Moncrieffe (1763-?) Aaron Burr’s first love, damask corset cradling a first edition of her book, The Memoirs of Mrs. Coughlan
• Theodosia Burr (1746-1794), first wife of Aaron Burr, corset encased in isinglass
• Mary Emmons (1760-1835), consort of Aaron Burr, leather and quill corset
• Leonora Sansay (1773-?) confidant and mistress, leather caned corset with signatures of onion skin paper, steel and mirrored armature
• Theodosia Burr Alston (1783-1813), daughter of Aaron Burr, silk corset, steel boned with signatures of 100% cotton rag paper stitched in silk
• Jane McManus Cazneau (1807-1878) American journalist and lobbyist, accused as correspondent in Jumel v. Burr divorce
• Eliza Jumel (1775-1865), second wife of Aaron Burr, 10-year-old revolutionary era corset bound within an illuminated boned bodice
Photos are available from an article at the New York Daily News»
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The Morris-Jumel Mansion is Manhattan’s oldest residence, built in 1765 as a summer retreat by British Colonel Roger Morris for his wife, Mary Philipse. The original estate reached from the Harlem River to the Hudson, with commanding views of the New York Harbor, the New Jersey Palisades, and Westchester. During the Revolutionary War the house served as headquarters for General George Washington drawn by the house’s superior military vantage point. In 1810 the estate was purchased by French wine merchant and importer Stephen Jumel and his wife Eliza. Remarkably the Jumel’s are noted as having restored the house to its original grandeur, throwing a party to which all of New York Society was invited to feast on oysters and drink the superb offerings of M. Jumel’s cellar, including excellent champagnes, as noted in the diary of Mayor Philip Hone. The Mansion is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City Landmark, managed by the Historic House Trust of New York City. Now a museum, it’s located between 160th and 162nd Streets east of St. Nicolas Avenue in historic Harlem Heights.