Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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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.
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.
Robe à la française, ca 1760 (textile ca 1750) France, LACMA
Suit, ca 1760 UK, the Met Museum
All three pieces of the British suit were typically made up of the same colors, unlike their more extravagant French counterparts.
Robe à la française, ca 1760 England, KCI
Chinese-inspired (chinoiserie) arts were popular in the 17th-18th centuries as traders brought back exotic goods from the far east. In fashion and textiles, this is usually manifested through prints or construction. Here, it comes in the form of color. Yellow in traditional Chinese culture belonged to the ruling family alone and could not be used in any way by anyone belonging to a lower rank of society. The emperor was even known as Huangdi (“Yellow Emperor”). This knowledge led to a surge in popularity of the color in Europe.