Events & Exhibitions

Man & Boy: Male Dress 1730-1930

16th January 2020 to 16th February 2020

On loan from the Private Collections of Mark Wallis and Alasdair Peebles

The study of male clothing has long been overshadowed by the prominent place given to female fashion by both costume historians and museums. There has been only one public exhibition focussing solely on men and boys dress, which was held over forty years ago in New York. Now there is a strong sense that this is set to change with blockbuster exhibitions planned in major institutions. In hosting this landmark exhibition, Tennants is delighted to play a leading role in moving the discussion of male dress from the side lines to centre stage.

Using real garments drawn from two exceptional private collections, the exhibition will tell 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 hundred years. Unusually, it will examine not only the sumptuous dress worn by the elite, but also the plainest workaday clothes of the ordinary man and boy. 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. 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.

Talks & Lectures


‘From Salon to Street: Aristocratic and Revolutionary Dress in 1790s France’

16th January, 2pm

Mark Wallis and Alasdair Peebles’s fascinating talk to celebrate the opening of the exhibition will look at two contrasting forms of dress in Revolutionary era France. Dressing in reproduction costume, Mark and Alasdair will compare the formal dress of a Gentleman attending a society ball and a youth who is ‘san culottes’ – a phrase literally meaning ‘without breeches’ and a term that became a byword for young Revolutionaries.

£12 to include tea, coffee and cakes

‘Shirted & Skirted: Men’s Printed Shirts and Boys Silk Dresses in mid Victorian England’

15th February, 2pm

In this illustrated talk Mark Wallis and Alasdair Peebles will examine two forms of male dress in 1850s England – printed shirts for gentleman and silk dresses worn by young boys.

£12 to include tea, coffee and cakes

To book your tickets, please contact us on 01969 621146 or email


Free Entry

Opening Hours


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