Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blustery Days and Eighteenth Century Prints

March has come in like a lion in my part of the world, which means lots of roaring wind and blustery days. Turns out, Marilyn wasn't the first to have a wardrobe malfunction from a sudden gust of wind (subway induced or natural). A few 18th century prints paying homage to the mischevious wind.

First, from 1751, a young couple steps off a skiff and is greeted by a gust.

The boatman takes the opportunity to try for a glimpse up the lady's skirt, but he's not safe, either--his wig is blown off leaving him with shorn head. Must be a pretty stiff breeze--look at how the lady's hat, likely felt, is plastered against the side of her head. I love her simple gown and lightly trimmed petticoat. And her huge feet. You never see huge feet in 18th century prints. Hello, giant-footed sister!

No mishaps here, but relaying the benefits of the wind in 1764:

The young lady, wearing an ermine-trimmed cloak against the brisk breeze, gestures to a windmill to illustrate Air and its beneficial functions. She has heavily-trimmed sleeves ending in filmy engageantes, is wearing either her cloak's hood or a separate hood (looks to me to be separate) under her beautifully trimmed hat. Note to self--you can have warm ears and avoid squinting in the sun!

Finally, an embarassing incident in 1771 on account of the breeze:

Not only is the lady having some petticoat issues from the wind, but she's lost her hat..and her cap...and her wig. The fellow behind her has collected her lost items with some amusement, but the folks in the background are really having a laugh. Possibly the print is not only making light of a funny scene, but also commenting on the impracticality of our lady's fine clothing and wig--note that the woman in the background, probably of a lower class or at least dressing with less panache, is dressed much more sensibly and her hat is remaining firmly affixed to her head. (You really can keep a hat on in the wind--you just have to tie it on, perhaps, a bit less fashionably.) Plus, she doesn't appear to be attempting to wear a wig in high winds--let's let her have her chuckle at the foolish young lady who didn't check the weather before traipsing out in her finery, shall we?

Are the days blustery where you are? Ever found yourself in a situation like these poor victims of fashion and wind?

All images from http://lwlimages.library.yale.edu/walpoleweb/ Years in post linked to larger image and more information.

1 comment:

Anachronist said...

I love her simple gown and lightly trimmed petticoat. And her huge feet. You never see huge feet in 18th century prints.

Yeah, finally a creature who has my kind of feet. They were easier to hide under a long full skirt and a crinoline.

In my place the wind can destroy your umbrella so I never carry one when it blows heavily.