1790s, BBC Your Paintings, children, fashion, Frivolous Friday, historic interiors, paintings, play, style, What Cheer Day
What Cheer Day is around the corner, and while we won’t have the delight of the babies this time, when browsing the BBC’s Your Paintings site, I found this painting by William Redmore Biggs. It pretty well captures the level of activity I’d like to bring to the museum–or at least a level just short of spilled ink.
As always, I’m looking for what working women wore, and in this image, I think we see the mistress of a dame school with her charges, who have clearly been romping in earnest.
The details abound, from the portfolio on the mantle to the baize on the floor and the ink spots on the little girls apron. The room is simply furnished, but we get a sense of domestic and dress details. The shortest girl in the front trio is disheveled, her sash undone and her gown slipping from her shoulders. (What a romp they’ve had!)
Anna Worden Bauersmith said:
This image is delightful. It has mischief and merriment. I can just hear the giggles as the mistress scolds the girls, an likely holds in a giggle or smirk herself.
I just love it.
To have that feeling spread through the rooms of a house…
The best part of What Cheer Day is trying to imagine how busy the house would have been. We know there were several children in the house in the early 1800s, so it would have been noisy and playful. Hard to recreate in a hushed museum– what with the expensive furniture and all–but worth giving real thought to.
LOVE this painting! Miss A’s white frock has a similar issue as the “devilish” one…if you need an afternoon slightly devilish participant.
I will look at the schedule! Miss A would be a welcome and very darling guest. Perhaps some cousins will come to call…
What a happy find: this painting is just so real…reminds me of the family room after the twins have had a little too much activity for indoors.
How does one get ink of of an apron, much less a baize floorcovering?
Is this painting mid 1790s? Interesting that the dame is wearing her hat indoors, with a thickish handkerchief worn as a veil and thrown back, and one of those long “cloaks” that are more like an enormous long shawl. Lots of draughts in the house and a cool day? Yet there’s no fire in the fireplace…
I do think this is mid-1790s, and my guess about the bonnet is that while the dame was away, the girls did play. That could explain what she’s wearing, and how the romp got so out of hand.
We have had our ink troubles with the Young Mr at about the age of those girls, and our rug never did recover. Lesson learned!
Ah then, the dame was too trusting and had left the house, so we are not seeing hat+handkerchief-on-head-wearing as an indoor style. Cool on the date. The mid to late 1790s are “my” primary era, so have strong interest.
Poor rug. Poor sofa, in our case! Red pen “drawing” on a cushion.
Very best, and happy weekend,