19th century clothing, art, art history, fine art, history, interpretation, sewing, sketchbook, sketching, women's history
In a mere four weeks, I will pack the Subaru and head west into New York State as so many Rhode Islanders have before me. And while I will have clothes suitable for the time of the RI Quaker Migration, I will be leaving not to found a more utopian society nor to seek my fortune on a farm. Instead, I’ll be joining some dear friends for a weekend sketching party (minus the horse and carriage).
This new enterprise has required some additional research, and while I look forward to painting miniatures at some point this summer, I suspect this venture will be a simpler proposition. A new dress and apron are the least of my worries: brushes, watercolor boxes, sketchbooks, pencils and pens all require research just when I should be thinking more seriously about the way the Revolution played out as a civil war in New Jersey.
Still, the Yale Center for British Art has rarely failed me: a simple search for sketchbook turned up a catalog record for three sketchbooks of 82 drawings by Anne Rushout. These are lovely, well-executed landscapes in a fine British tradition, far more sophisticated than Diana Sperling or Sophie DuPont– I fear I will closer to Sperling and DuPont when I take up sketching again, and can at least console myself that my wonky drawings will be part of a fine tradition of ladies’ accomplishments.
The Yale Center for British Art also has a nice Romney sketchbook for Paradise Lost, which demonstrates the cartoon-like nature of preliminary drawings (and I mean cartoon in the old sense, not the Animaniacs sense, though the uses are related). And as I sew my dress of unmatched checks, I have art programming to entertain me: Fake or Fortune, thanks to a tip from Ms B, has provided happy, envious hours of conservation labs, artists’ colourmen, and auction rooms. Vicarious delight, indeed.