This is What Women Wore in Bygone Times

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This is What Women Wore in Bygone Times


Antigonus, Apollo’s Temple, Bohemia, Camillo, costume, drama, Elsie Dayne, Emilia, Florizel, head dress, head-dress, headdress, Hermione, Iris Hart (1910-1983), jealousy, John Alden (1908-1962), John Alden Shakespearean Company, Leontes, Lucille Robinson, Mamillius, Mavis Turner, medieval costume, medieval dress, oracle, Pauline, Perdita, performance, Perth, Polixenes, Shakespeare, shepherd, shepherdess, Sicilia, stage, theatre, The Winter’s Tale, WA, Western Australia, William Shakespeare (1564-1616)




This article features a photograph of costume head-dresses from the stage production of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” performed in Perth in 1952 as part of a national tour by the John Alden Shakespearean Company. The four actresses in the photograph are Lucille Robinson and Elsie Dayne (ladies of the court), Mavis Turner (Perdita) and Iris Hart (Emilia). The head-dresses are described by the author as “millinery of medieval times”.

About The Winter’s Tale:

In “The Winter’s Tale”, Leontes, the King of Sicilia, becomes consumed with jealousy that Hermione, his wife, is having an affair with the King of Bohemia (Polixenes). He instructs his councillor Camillo to poison Polixenes, but instead Camillo reveals Leontes’ plans and both he and Polixenes secretly leave for Bohemia. The pregnant Hermione is banished to prison, where she gives birth to a daughter. Refusing to believe the legitimacy of the child, Leontes demands that the child be burned alive and then, upon the protestations of his chief adviser Antigonus, abandoned off the coast of Bohemia. In the events that unfold over the following Act, Leontes refuses to believe an oracle from Apollo’s Temple exonerating Hermione’s and orders her trial to proceed, his son Mamillius dies, Hermione dies, Leontes realises his mistake and repents, Antigonus is killed by a bear and a shepherd finds the abandoned baby and takes her home. Sixteen years later, in Bohemia, the story recommences with Polixenes expressing concern that his son Florizel has fallen in love with a shepherdess. He attends a sheep-shearing festival in disguise, revealing himself at the last moment to prevent the betrothal of the couple, after which Florizel and the shepherdess are advised by Camillo (now Polixenes’ chief adviser) to flee to Sicilia. When Polixenes also arrives in Sicilia with the shepherd and his son, the shepherdess’ identity as Leontes’ lost child is discovered and her marriage to Florizel condoned, Leontes and Polixenes are friends once more, and a statue of Hermione comes to life, revealing that she is alive and has been waiting to be reunited with her daughter.

For a copy of the text, see:




National Library of Australia,


The West Australia


18 September 1952, p. 7.


The West Australian


“’The Winter’s Tale’ for Perth Stage” The West Australian, 13 September 1952, p.5


Newspaper Article



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