Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Inspirational primary resources - Part 3 Paintings

I love looking at paintings for costume inspiration.  They are available for all periods, are often rich in detail and colour and cover a variety of subjects.  They are also great snippets of social history; the countess in her finery, a family receiving visitors, a day at the races, each moment a time capsule captured by the artist.  Of course we have to be slightly wary of artistic interpretation.  Often images of the working classes were romanticised, people may have received the 19th century equivalent of photoshopping, and of course there may be degrees of artistic license in any painting.  But even then when these changes are obvious, it can tell us something about the society in which these artists and the subjects lived.  I think that's what my favourite thing is about viewing period paintings, peeking through the looking glass into the 19th century; seeing the lady at boudoir in her morning wrapper, a frozen snapshot of the hustle and bustle of the Victorian seaside resort with all it's paraphernalia, little cameos of Victorian life for us to share.   Here are some of my favourite paintings from the period 1830 - 1865, with focus on the costume content.  The last painting is a particular favourite as it is Ramsgate, the town in which i grew up.

  ca. 1833 The Family of John Q. Aymar -Attributed to George W. Twibill Jr

 Note the hairstyle, earings, neckchain, sleeve design and matching fichu / belt




1848 Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna by Franz Xavier Winterhalter (Royal Collection)

 Note the smaller more practicle ribbons used to tie the bonnet and the wider ribbons for decoration.

 Bracelet and glove

  1852  The eve of the wedding -  Jerry Barrett

 The lurker in the background



 Black shoe and cream wedding boots

Straw bonnet - i like the rounded ends of the ribbons

  1862 Strange faces – Frederick Walker

 Bonnet with contrasting bavolet and ties


Matching parasol - with a book on top!  o_O

Dress and apron

c.1860s A Victorian Family at the Seaside Charles Wynne Nicholls

 Spoon bonnet, paisley shawl and small sewing basket

 Hairnet, fringed parasol, straw hat and purple gloves

 Sheer dress, straw pillbox hat, long handled parasol and large lace shawl

1852 - 54 Ramsgate Sands (Life at the seaside) William Powell Frith - Royal Collection

Shawls, petticoat, bonnets, gloves and uglys (a folding sunshade worn on the front of bonnets)

 Bonnet, shawl and parasol/umbrella

 Bonnets, bonnet veil and parasols

More uglys 

Shawl and parasol

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