Historic costume to be conserved

By Catherine Singen
  • Postcard of Maud Allan in her work Vision of Salomé, c. 1908 / Photo courtesy of Dance Collection Danse
  • Brassiere portion of Maud Allan’s Vision of Salomé (1906) costume / Photo by Andreah Barker, courtesy of Dance Collection Danse

Dance Collection Danse (DCD) recently announced that Maud Allan’s historic Salomé costume will receive treatment from the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). Once conserved, the costume will provide the focal point for future exhibitions that could include other Maud Allan artifacts in the DCD archives including a bisque nodder, Salomé cigarettes, Salomé corn plasters, postcards, photographs, Allan’s diaries and papers, and other pieces of her Edwardian-era clothing. Amy Bowring, DCD’s Director of Collections and Research, comments, “This restoration project not only highlights an important Canadian cultural artifact but also signifies the importance of dance history within the shared heritage of Canadians.” Maud Allan, a native of Toronto, first wore the costume in 1906 when she debuted her choreographic work The Vision of Salomé in Vienna. Allan’s performance was later seen by King Edward VII who recommended her to the management of the Palace Theatre in London. Allan took London by storm giving over 200 performances in the city beginning in March 1908. Her sensational Vision of Salomé with its risqué costume spawned a Salomania craze that led to dance imitators and a variety of unique merchandise. A pianist by training and highly musical, Allan’s dances were moving interpretations of music by such composers as Chopin, Mendelssohn and Brahms.

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