Thursday, 7 January 2016

EXHIBITION: Inspiring Beauty. No7 - 80 Years Of Making Up The Modern Woman

A new free exhibition chronicling the history of Nottingham's Boots No7 make up brand starts this month at Lakeside Arts at the University of Nottingham.

For the first time, previously unseen material charting key moments in the history of Boots No7 from its launch in 1935 to its development as an international beauty range will be exhibited.

Treasures from the Boots Archives not normally on display to the public, such as original packaging and advertising, original archive documents and museum objects have been brought together from Boots Archives, The University of Nottingham's Manuscripts and Special Collections and The University of Nottingham's Museum to show the wider social and cultural role of cosmetics from Roman times to the present day.

No7 was launched in an era soon to be transformed by the Second World War and the exhibition explores the social changes affecting women during the last eight decades and the extent to which No7 responded to them, charting the measures taken to counteract war-time shortages and the explosion of colour and choice in the 1960s to enable glamour-on-the-go. 

The exhibition has been jointly curated by Sophie Clapp and Judith Wright from the Boots Archives, Dr Richard Hornsey (Lecturer in Modern British History at The University of Nottingham) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.  

"The history of Boots is deeply rooted in Nottingham, where the company was founded and where so many local people have worked and shopped. It seems fitting to tell the story of No7 on the University of Nottingham campus that Jesse Boot helped create. No7 was launched just as the modern beauty industry came of age, and it's fascinating to see how it has constantly adapted and grown from just a handful of products to an enormous internationally-available range. But this exhibition is not just about make-up, it's also the social and cultural story of the past 80 years, and how the changes are reflected in the products we buy and the marketing we see," says Kathryn Steenson, Archivist at Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Posters, products, photographs and Boots staff magazines will be used to tell a decade-by-decade story of the cosmetic evolution of the modern woman and also on display is some Victorian advice for young ladies regarding their appearance, along with 20th century beauty advisors' notes that demonstrate the shift in attitudes to female beauty over the generations.

Inspiring Beauty. No7 ~ 80 years of making up the modern woman is at the Weston Gallery, D H Lawrence Pavilion, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD from Friday 15 January to Sunday 17 April 2016.

The Weston Gallery is open Monday to Friday 11am - 4pm
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays noon - 4pm (Closed Easter Sunday)
Admission Free

A series of talks and a creative workshop will be held to accompany the exhibition, places are limited so booking in advance is advised with the Box Office on 0115 846 7777

Full details about the exhibition and accompanying talks can be found on the Nottingham Lakeside Arts website

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