ICOM Costume Post Conference Tour Český Krumlov 27. 8. 2022

The Post Conference Tour will lead to the Wardrobe of the Baroque Theatre Castle ČESKÝ KRUMLOV  (Czech Republic)

The Castle Český Krumlov, one of the most important sites in the Czech Republic is hidden in an extensive collection of theatrical costumes, one of the largest sets from the 18th century in Europe. To know more about the Castle, check this link.

During the 18th century (period of the Schwarzenberg’s since 1718) the Krumlov theatre wardrobe was gradually expanded until it reached an amazing total of 262 items recorded in the inventory in 1807. The preserved collection, which includes more than 300 dresses and accessories, is very varied in types of characters, shapes, used materials, and the manner of craftsmanship.

The most attractive and artistically valuable part of the collection is a small set ( cca 20 items) of costumes richly embroidered. Their silhouettes are keeping with the fashion of the late Rococo. The extensive ornaments of silver embroideries recall the splendid costume designs of the Viennese court designer A.D.Bertolli. 

Among these “opulent“ richly decorated costumes we find the set of four skirts, described in the inventory from 1760 as “ballet skirts“. It seems they might be used for some group dancing performances. Their embroidery and applications remind very closely of the designs of the above-mentioned famous Viennese theatre designer Antonio Bertolli. As is known from many archive documents the family of Schwarzenberg was for many generations closely connected with the imperial Vienesse court.

Comparing the inventory of 1807 with the chateau wardrobe’s present state, we can reliably identify many pieces. Worth mentioning, for instance, are linen dance costumes, miners’ and monks’ costumes, or liveries for members of the castle orchestra. The popularity of pantomimes and commedia dell´arte is recalled by costumes of Pierot, Pantalone, Brighella and Dottore. In counterposition to splendid costumes, probably used for performances of opera seria costumes for pantomimes and commedia dell´arte are made of much modest fabrics, mostly canvas and wool, sometimes decorated by glittering trims

Their construction respects a silhouette of actual fashion, and the way of tailoring is rather professional. 

According to written documents local tailors were invited for some rehearsals to be available if actors required any adjustments to their costumes. The actors themselves carried out various details. 

On many costumes, we see traces of remodeling in later periods. The whole collection was used (as is clear from repeating titles of inventories from 1760 and 1807) both for the stage purposes and for masquaŕade entertainment in the castle.

We are step by step discovering, within continual restoration work on the collection carried out since the end of the 1970s, the richest source of information on the technical elaboration of costumes and traces of their “social life“. The main Award of Europa Nostra appreciated the restoration of the collection in 2002.

The theatre costume collection of Český Krumlov represents one of the largest sets of the 18th century providing both an exceptional opportunity to study authentic materials and designs used for the stage costumes of the time and inspiration for contemporary costume designers.

Center of International Studies of Baroque Culture directly on the first court of the Castle Český Krumlov (open since 2016).

Study opportunities:

Authentic collection of theatre costumes in direct relation with the authentic completely preserved theatre (stage, decorations, lighting, props) and the whole castle area with many unique architectonic details (the theatre is directly connected by a corridor with the Hall of Masks with Rococo murals of 138 characters in theatre and dancing costumes, Summer House Bellaria with murals depicting the aristocratic life in the mid 18th century)

Study of authentic fabric, decoration of costumes, way of tailoring, constructions (we have approximate 50 construction schemes 1:1 and 1:20 for study purposes)

Workshops with special topics with the assistance of our specialists-curators and conservators. We provide also the opportunity for individual studies. Study of repertoire in archive founds. Study of archive sources  – the state archive with exceptional founds on the second court of the castle.



Departure from Prague to Český Krumlov will be at 7.30 a.m. from metro station Strašnická, this is metro line A.

11.00 – 11.45 – Welcome in the third courtyard of the castle, small refreshments, coffee

Visit to the depositories of the ball wardrobe (turn of the 19th and 20th century) and livery (1638)

11.45 – 13.00 Tour of the Baroque Theatre

Tour of the Baroque Theatre depository (Grand Prix Europa Nostra 2002) – theatre costumes – see annex in English, livery, ball wardrobe – Part 1

13.00 – 13.45 Passage through the corridor of the Mantle Bridge from the Baroque Theatre to the Masquerade Hall

Tour of the Masquerade Hall (138 costumed characters)

13.45 – 15.00 Lunch

Restaurant at Jacob’s https://jakubrestaurant.cz/

15.00 – 17.30 Exhibition “Noble festivities and entertainments”, which also includes very exclusive clothes

Tour of the Baroque Theatre Depository (Grand Prix Europa Nostra 2002) – theatre costumes -livre, ball wardrobe – Part 2

Tour of the castle library with emphasis on literature on textiles and clothing – if there is time left…

17.30 – 19.00 City tour

approx. 19.00 departure to Prague