15 thoughts on “Beecham House (2019)

  1. I wonder if the beards may have been about fitting in more in India, where they were more common in this period? A sign that the European characters are adapting to Indian styles a little?

    1. Does anyone have any idea what’s going on with Dakota Blue Richard’s bust? It looks to me like her boobs have been smashed flat into her stays? Something just looks wrong about it.

  2. As far as the actual kingdom of Kalyan is concerned,it was heavily influenced by the Marathas not Rajputs(the show doesn’t specify the geography well enough).I do think that the designs were too heavily influenced by paintings(often allegorical)because the extants appear much more conservative.Most cholis(extant)from the period had a flap to cover the belly(angia),or a separate kurti(with kanchli).By this time it was also common practice to tuck the end of dupatta under the left armpit not just thrown on arms.I don’t think royalty would have exposed the stomach.
    The hair is also slightly inaccurate,as hair was often oiled and pulled back tightly,never floofed(the jewellery would not sit right that way).The pasa jewellery seems to be replaced by mangatika;pasa for Muslim royalty was a must.The begums would not be seen with hair loose and uncovered-except in paintings,and even then they had a crown or a dupatta covering the torso.

    1. Ooh it’s good to hear more about the Indian side of things. I’m not an expert at all, but your comments make lots of sense. Even as a casual viewer, the hair looks the most contemporary to me. Based on photos I’ve seen from 1860’s through 1900’s and illustrations of the Mughal empire in general (which was a long empire so fashions could change, and it was a large one so there could’ve been internal differences) it seems as though the pulled-back, oiled hair style would be the standard, as you said, where the more fluffy hair might be more popular with young ladies nowadays. As for begums wearing their hair down, I think they’re doing the odd “rich means hair down, poor means hair up” thing, which they’re not doing for the English women (did the English women steal the begums’ hairpins in their first act of colonial greed?) which is a big strange. Still very pretty, but not historical (though again, I’m no expert). I’m always just desperately grateful when any historical character has their hair up at all.
      I noticed that Chanchal’s orange dress does seem to have the belly-flap (angia) addition to the choli you mentioned, but it would be odd to only put it in for some characters. The older lady in red in the background of the first picture with Chanchal (the one holding the baby) also has a longer choli.
      I will say that the servant Baadal’s clothing looked very correct to me, silhouette wise (those pleats are my favorite part of Mughal men’s clothing). As servant clothes, they’re also more subdued than the lords and ladies’ clothing, but they are also elegant to show the status of the house he serves, and his high position in their service. What do you think?
      I think you could write a guest post about the fashion if you wanted to! It’d be cool to see what they got right, what they got wrong and where they may have been trying to make a point about a character (and whether that point makes sense).

      1. British stealing hairpins would be hilarious!More entertaining than a bunch of people playing pass-the-baby.
        I think that the servant clothing was based on paintings by British agents,hence are more realistic while the royal attire was based on paintings commissioned by Indian kings and often had allegorical elements(very often they were role playing as Radha-Krishna).
        The red dress worn by the older lady in the background was my favourite as well.

        1. That’s an interesting insight- lots of royal portraits have allegorical elements I think it’s easier to spot allegorical elements when you’re familiar with the source material, so if there’s a lady with her hair down in pseudo-fairy tale or Greek myth clothes (or with elements from those things), Western costume historians probably know not to take that literally, but costumers not familiar with Indian allegory might take stuff as literal that’s simply referring to an older story.
          Mughal kings taking on Krishna-and-Radha allegory is simultaneously surprising since they were Muslim and also not surprising at all because Krishna is just that ever-present of a character.
          Older lady in red is secretly investigating the great hairpin thieving spree of 1795.

  3. However, John Beecham going around in that huge coat all the time in the heat of the Indian sub-continent struck me as odd.
    Nice piece though … better than the show!

    1. When I first saw John Beecham in the opening I wondered what Walker, Texas Ranger was doing in early 19th c. India.

  4. I ceased to worry about how authentic the costumes were when, during the opening scene, the lead character dismounts from a late 20th century American western saddle. Nothing in the region or the period is remotely similar.

  5. Still need to see this bc I was unsure of the plot, but the costumes won me over at least to try it.

  6. The military mind is extremely unimaginative when it comes to uniforms. No officer would appear outside of the barracks without his shirt buttoned and covered with the regulation cravat, fichu, or whatever was decreed.

  7. I wanted to love it, but couldn’t get over the casual racism. The plot, characterization, various racist tropes…Even the Daily Mail called out the racism. When the Daily Mail can recognise racism, you know it’s a big problem.

    But man is it pretty….

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