Tuesday, May 25, 2010

False Rumps and Satire

After the wide-hipped paniers of the early to mid eighteenth century and before the sylph-like silhouette of the Empire there was a brief flourishing of...

The False Rump. The width of the hips from earlier periods reoriented itself to the posterior, allowing additional surface area to play with the elaborate draping of the gowns' skirts popular at the time, namely the Robe a la Polonaise (which translates to Gown in the Polish Style, which translates to Gown whose skirts are rucked up in the back to form artful poufs) and the Robe Retroussee dans les Poches (which translates to Gown Pulled through the Pockets, which translates to Gown whose skirts are yanked through the pockets slits in a charming manner).

Like tight lacing and preposterously large hair, false rumps earned their share of derision from cartoonists.

In this image, a hairdresser gets a leg up from his customer's false rump.

This lady has found a perch for her lapdog. The dog's name, by the way, is Chloe, a name I would not have thought to associate with either the eighteenth century or canines!

The material of choice for false rumps appears, from these cartoons, to have been cork, which provides for even more hilarity.

The caption reads 'The Siege of Cork' and depicts one poor woman whose undergarment is attacked by corkless bottles in pursuit of a stopper.

Of course, with a large bottle attached to one's cork bum, one could have a seat anywhere one goes...By the by, these cartoons tend to lampoon young, attractive women as well as older, somewhat grotesque-looking women like these ladies. The older women always seem a bit more ridiculous, as though the cartoonist implies that young ladies may look foolish following silly trends, but older women who should know better by now look even worse.

My false rump is considerably more modest...and given the scarcity of cork in my neck of the woods, I used frayed hand towels to construct mine :)

All images from the Lewis Walpole Library


Isis' Wardrobe said...

Wonderful pictures!

I go for more modest too, but it would be fun to have a very large one "JUST BBECAUSE". :-d

Kat Zhang said...

I LOVE these prints! I think so many people (myself included) have a mistaken view of people from "olden" times as being rather stuffy and far removed from us today. Then you go and realize that they were really much the same, following after fashion trends and poking fun at one another :)

Ax said...

I am so calling you if I ever get back to writing historical fiction. The clothes! the clothes! :p

Connie said...

What a beautiful gown!!

missbluestocking said...

HAHA! That picture where birds flew out made me burst out into laughter.

18th century satire is beyond awesome. Clever ones

Rowenna said...

Isis--agreed! Doing an over-the-top, giant-haired, huge bummed outfit would be so fun! Halloween, maybe?

Kat--so true! Hard to believe that senses of humor existed then, too :)

Ax--anytime! I can even lend you a corset if you need one for...research?


June--I know, that one was my favorite! There's a similar one with an ostrich attacking a lady's plumed hair :)