One of the corsets in the exhibition (photograph by Seth Tillett for House of Execution, via Daily News)
The Morris-Jumel Mansion is said to be haunted, and probably is, considering the dense, legendary past of the oldest house of New York City. Built in 1773, the Palladian-style manor served as a backdrop for numerous key moments in the United States history, from the American Revolution when George Washington used the house as his headquarters, to the scandalous marriage between Eliza Jumel and Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States, indicted for the murder of Alexander Hamilton.
Aaron Burr’s bedchamber in the Morris-Jumel Mansion (via Morris-Jumel Mansion)
This fascinating history caught the attention of couture artist Camilla Huey, creator of The House of Execution, a prestigious fashion studio where ”fashion and history collide .” Huey conceptualized a very unique evocation of the Jumel Mansion past using the personal correspondence of eight 19th women who were, in their own way, linked to the fate of Aaron Burr, including his mother, his mistresses, his beloved daughter Theodosia Burr Alston, and Eliza Jumel, his second wife who Aaron married at the age of 78.
Corset in the exhibition (photograph by Seth Tillett, via House of Execution)
Seeing a direct analogy between corsetry and literature through “the binding of a body of work,” Huey created eight sculptural portraits of these women using corsetry sewed with rare papers and books, each one reflecting the woman’s own persona and her relationship to Burr. The structured gowns are exhibited throughout the rooms and cabinets of the Jumel Mansion as a poetic vision of femininity both intimate and historical.