Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Going away dress and matching cape, 1838 US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Newly wedded couples change into “going away” outfits before leaving their reception. This tradition is fading in most places, but it’s still hanging on here in the South.
Dress (a) and matching cape (b) of grayish-olive-green silk with fancy-woven stripes with lines of white; fitted bodice, pointed in front; widely flaring neck; fullness across bust in unpressed pleats; long sleeves with fine pleats in upper part held in place by bias folds, full from just above elbow to above wrist, fullness pleated vertically to wrist; full skirt with loose pleats in front and gathered in back; short double cape (b) of same material with edges finished with bias folds of self material; both dress and cape fully lined with white cotton cloth; probably the going-away outfit of Harriet Maria Spelman, married to Estes Howe, August 20, 1838.
Dress, 1835-40 US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Woman’s dress (a), alternate bodice (b), shoulder cape (c), and bow (d). Brown satin trimmed with piping, bands, bows, and pleating of same brown satin. Attached bodice trimmed with soutache braid of same color. Cape trimmed with long brown fringe. Both bodices have long sleeves. Very good condition.
The Waagepetersen Family by Wilhelm Bendz, 1830 Denmark (Copenhagen), Statens Museum for Kunst
The busy businessman looks up briefly from his work when his wife and two of the couple’s children enter his office within the family’s home on Store Strandstræde in Copenhagen.
The Danish middle class
With its clear demonstration of the pressures of work handled by the head of the family, the picture illustrates the fundamental values for the Danish middle classes circa 1830: Family and work. The home is sparingly furnished with no unnecessary ornamentation, reflecting the thriftiness prevalent in Denmark during the hard years that followed the Napoleonic wars.
The head of the family shown in the picture is the wine merchant Christian Waagepetersen, one of the men who clearly marked that the middle classes had become the dominant group within Danish society after the aristocracy’s centuries of dominance.Waagepetersen was keenly interested in art and music. He frequently threw musical soirees in his home, where the leading Danish composers and musicians attended alongside painters and sculptors.
Waagepetersen also commissioned several pictures addressing themes from his own life and work like this piece.
The Princely Esterházy Council Mathias Kerzmann with His Second Wife, the Former Countess Majlath, and His Daughter Maria by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 1835, the Belvedere