Slice of Heaven has been on open for a year now. This means that some of the light-sensitive paper and textile exhibition items have had their full quota of light exposure and have to come off display.
This includes this majestic coatee, pictured above, that Premier Richard Seddon wore to grand royal events. Seddon had the nickname ‘King Dick’. He revelled in imperial pomp and circumstance at every opportunity, and always dressed accordingly.
Today, a less blingy ‘Levee Uniform’ was put in the place of this coatee. Seddon wore this uniform to afternoon events known as ‘levees’. The coatee is pictured below. The matching trousers are also on display.Seddon was a large man: he was almost 2 metres tall and weighed about 127 kgs. You can see from the image below that the form had to be padded out with foam to add the necessary girth to hold up the trousers!
The changeover procedure was a little fiddly. Objects had to be moved out of the way while glass on the display case protecting the garments from dust was removed.
Then, after the Levee Uniform was put into the case, Te Papa’s installers had to manoeuvre themselves around to fix other items back into place.
And below you can see the end result: Seddon’s relatively sober Levee Uniform which will be on display for the next 12 months.
There’s more to read about Richard Seddon and his imperialism on the Slice of Heaven website.
And there is interesting information about Seddon’s imperial dressing in Collections Online