Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Brooch, 1754 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
Hair had long been important in sentimental jewellery, but during the 18th century it took on a new prominence. It could now form the centrepiece of a jewel, arranged in complicated motifs or as plain, woven sections. Tiny fragments of hair could even be incorporated into delicate paintings. Some designs were made by professionals, but many women chose to work the hair of loved ones themselves, using gum to secure their creations.
Hair jewels were worn to cherish the living as well as to remember the dead. The survival of many pieces celebrating love and friendship indicate their great social importance
Fashion doll with accessories, 1755-60 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This is most likely to be a fashion doll, or a pandora. Pandoras were used from the 14th century to convey the latest fashion among the courts of Europe. By the 18th century this practice had become more common, and these three-dimensional fashion plates were sent all over Europe and America to a much wider clientele by dress makers to promote their wares. By the end of the 18th century the pandoras had given way in importance to fashion magazines. The figures were not designed as toys, but, after they had served their original purpose they may been given to children to play with.
This wooden figure is dressed in a silk sack back robe with matching petticoat and stomacher. She wears all the accessories and underpinnings of a fashionable lady of the late 1750s. The original headed pins suggest that the garments have remained in position since the 18th century and the figure may never have been played with.
Boy’s robe, ca 1750 France, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This boy’s robe dates from a era when young boys in Europe wore garments with skirts, a custom with unclear origins, but which most likely had to do with making it easier for them to urinate. The style was common until about 1920. A boy usually received his first breeches or trousers between four and seven years of age, sometimes in a special ceremony held by the family.
Dress, ca 1745 (restyled ca 1760) England, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Yellow silk brocaded with polychrome silks in floral motifs. Robe: neck and front lines with matching bands of ruching; sack (Watteau) back with stitched-down pleats; short fitted sleeves with double asymmetrical ruffles; panier accomodating skirt with slits at hipline, fullness knife-pleated into waistline; linen bodice lining. Underskirt: fullness pleated into tie-tape waistband; scallped ruffle and ruching in ribbon motif applied to front.
Portrait of Marie Anglique Vïrany de Varennes, Mme Georges Gougenot de Croissy by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1757 France, New Orleans Museum of Art
Portrait of Charlotte Beatrix Strick van Linschoten by Mattheus Verheyden, ca 1755 the Netherlands, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam