This is a heads-up
for BBC4 at 20.30 on Wednesday 24 January when the clothes Dido Belle wears in this famous painting will be analysed, unpicked and re-created by historical costumier Ninya Mikhaila in the series A Stitch in Time presented by costume historian Amber Butchardt. At least that’s what is promised, so I hope the programme does concentrate on Dido’s diaphanous gown which is pictorially obscured by the bowl of exotic fruits she holds to signify her own tropical origins.
A Stitch in Time is a good series that has not received the attention it deserves. As with Lucy Worsley’s efforts, there’s much prancing and smirking and dressing up, overlying more serious historical presentation, but the latter prevails, packed into a useful half-hour. Especially informative was the programme devoted to the vast green gown worn by Signora Arnolfini in Van Eyck’s painting, where she looks pregnant but is in fact clasping a whole fistful of fabric in order to be able to walk forward.