Today's fashion plate series are, as of this date, currently for sale at Collector's Prints
, going for a $39.99 a piece. This is a decent price for a 7x8 hand-colored plate of this age.
The dresses are definitely 1830s-style, but the plates appear undated (I cannot read the tiny writing at the bottom to ascertain if they indicate which magazine these originally came from). The lack of information is a little unfortunate, but the images are very nice and the colors are bright.
Gotta love those top-knots in the hairdos!
The 1830s strikes me as a sort of ugly era for women's fashion: the hairstyles are complex and a little bizarre by modern standards and the sloping shoulders and pouf sleeves seem unflattering to me.
I do love, however, the emphasis on teeny tiny feet (which seems more prevalent in this era than in subsequent ones, though women's feet will always be drawn like pointy little triangles throughout the century. The 1830s strike me particularly as having something of the ballerina implied in them, however.
Today's offering (the first of hopefully many Fashion Plate Fridays to come), is from Magasin des Demoiselles, February, 1859 and features some lovely children's fashions in addition to the more common adult subject. A number of my female characters are young girls in the 1850s, so I have been particularly looking for these kinds of examples.
Children's clothes wouldn't become more practical under late in the century. For most of the era, girls dresses were simply miniature versions of what their mothers were wearing, with shorter skirts until age 14-18 (depending on the culture and social status of the family), when a girl was expected to come into society as marriageable young lady.
I especially like the little blue booties on the older of the two girls here (probably dyed satin in this case).
This plate was found at the immense and amazing Casey Fashion Plates Index, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.
Today I am sharing a beautiful fashion plate from Union Magazine, April 1849. The inclusion of the man in this image is lovely since around about the 1860s men sort of drop out of the fashion plate world in women's magazines. Later they emerge again in their own books, but the ladies magazines will be inclined to focus on women and sometimes children more exclusively.
I don't know much about Union Magazine specifically. There were many flash in the pan publications around this era when publishers realized that ~ wow ~ based on the success of Godey's, it was apparent that women liked to read! And so the market was full of magazines to appeal to women mostly of a privileged class, though cheaper books were likewise produced in an attempt to appeal to women of lower means as well. The glut would eventually lead to a magazine Darwinism, with the strong rising to the top and the weaker falling away. Godey's would likewise continue to dominate despite competition from Demorest's magazine, and would only eventually succomb to the popular format of Harper's Bazaar.
(a regular great source of fashion plates and other antique manuscripts of interest), recently had a post of Les Fleurs Animees
In the 19th century there were some (what appear to be) popular paper doll sets based on this concept of costumes designed using flowers as inspiration, but the plates shown on the site include some really interesting ones that I have not seen before, including this lovely image of a woman dressed in what appears to be like a nun's habit fashioned from water lilies.
While I have no ambition in particular to make any flower dolls of my own, they are fascinating to look at and provide fun inspiration for the possibility of masquerade costumes later on down the road.
I couldn't find, in a quick search, the set of 19th century dolls I am referring to above (I thought I could quickly, but apparently they're all hiding now that the spring season is over), but I will continue to look and will post them when I manage to scrounge them up.
I did actually work on some original designs this weekend, but they are still in the pencil stage. I don't know why I get so perfectionist about this stuff. I am hoping, once I get back from San Diego (next Tuesday), I will find a way to streamline this process so that I will just move from design to drawing to painting without all of this fretting in between.
I half-considered just rendering the clothes in sepia since I know it would be so much easier. It's the whole color
thing that's holding me back.
Color paralyzes me. I don't know why I don't just get rid of it and do monochromatic work instead. Then, if people want to color the clothes, they can do so themselves. I am trapped somewhere between going in this direction and fighting the good fight to not let the color thing beat me.
While I duke it out psychologically, do enjoy this fashion plate from Le Follet
(1849). Men's clothes were certainly more interesting in the first part of the Victorian Era (I love the long vests and the fabulous trims). They got a lot more maudlin as the century wore on: mostly black and neutral colors. styles in America prior to the Civil War generally seemed a lot dandier. We wouldn't see a lot of color back in men's clothes until the 20th century, alas.
Likewise, enjoy this blog by Dorothy Jane Landgren Williams, which posts fashion-related items (including plates) from time to time. While the focus is mostly Regency-Era stuff, there's lots of other fun things to look at as well: Paraphernalia
I will return next week (and once again, hopefully more often).
, a beautiful fashion plate from 1831. The caption reads:
"The woman on the left wears a green archery dress with full skirts, a large, pointed, white lace collar and long sleeves with double puffs at the shoulders. The woman wears a green belt with a gold buckle and gold trim. A gold and green tassel hangs from one side of the belt, while an ornate gold and green hip quiver holding several white, feather-tipped arrows hangs from the other. The woman's hat has a white, upturned brim edged with green. It is adorned with several large, white plumes at the crown and a golden ornament at the brim. The woman wears long, dangling earrings, green boots, pale gloves, and a brown bracer, or arm-guard, on her left forearm. She holds a bow and arrow ready to shoot.
The woman on the right wears a blue and white archery dress with a high, lacy collar and a short, sheer apron. The bodice and sleeves are extremely ornate and reminiscent of a doublet. The bodice is decorated with rows of white braid in a military fashion and white ruffles extend from the shoulders. The sleeves are blue and fitted below the elbow, but puffed at the shoulder, where they are blue and white striped and trimmed in lace ruffles. The skirt is a very pale blue, and the woman wears a blue belt with a large buckle at her waist. A tassel and small, arrow-filled hip quiver hang from this woman's belt. She wears blue boots, white gloves, and large, dangling earrings. Her white hat has an upturned brim trimmed with a white brooch or ornament. Several large, white plumes adorn the crown. She wears a bracer on her left forearm and carries a bow and arrow, though hers are lowered as she watches her companion take her shot. A large green back quiver, trimmed in gold and with a green and white ribbon carrying strap, lies in the foreground. The two women are outside. They stand on grass with trees and an archery target behind them."
Click the image to see more detail on the fashion plate and on the link above to see more plates and descriptions!
I have been truly dreadful about updating here, I know. So many other things on my plate, including a grim sinus infection that made me lose a couple of weeks in crabby mungness. But I'm always full of excuses, I know, so I'll just offer this colorful plate from a fashion magazine the name of which, unfortunately, I do not know. Dapper chaps, aren't they? This is circa 1830 and these fellas are clearly young gadabouts who have nothing better to do than flaunt the latest styles as they promenade about. I like the "sporting" outfit in the back as well. When they're not trying to impress the ladies, they can take their spaniels into the bush and flush grouse or somesuch. Also love the stovepipe hats with the rounded brims. Very particular to the era since by the 40s, the wider tops and curvier sides were much more popular by and large.
As for my own work, suffice it to say, it keeps getting back burner-ed while I wrangle with a multitude of other projects. But I do have a deadline for the 15th of May, which means I need to get back working on this stuff soon.
I also changed the body shape on one doll (the adjustments never end, do they?). I will post stuff by Sunday night (trying to make a commitment here!).
The great find of recent weeks has been Google Books digitized volumes of the Gazette of Fashion from Edward Minister and Son, who were tailors and habit makers for the queen (you can see a sample here). I don't know every magazine that was ever published in the 19th century in America, but I do know that I have no knowledge of any American counterpart that would be similar to this particular one that might have been running as early as the 1860s. The Gazette is wonderfully illustrated, but even though it's great that Google Books has digitized a handful of volumes, it's unfortunate that the digitization was done somewhat slipshod.
The Gazette contained lovely fold out pages (in full color!), but Google Books did not attempt to capture these at all, it appears (you can see the fold in the picture above from an 1866 issue). It's too bad since the color pictures look really wonderful and it would have been great to see more examples of the use of color in men's clothing since I have such a terror of color and don't do well mixing and matching.
The image at the right is an example of a typical black and white plate (from an 1869 issue). The detail on the clothing is excellent. Edward Minister and Son focused on suits and coats, including coats for women and clothing for boys. Throughout the magazine are some lovely examples of riding habits for women, winter coats, walking coats, sporting outfits, dusters, etc. The array of styles for men is pretty staggering and each issue contains patterns and articles on textiles, seasonal fads, etc.
I always tend to think of men's clothes as fairly limited then: a few styles of frocks and coats, but everything generally similar. In a full year of the Gazette there might be upwards of 75 different plates, all showing variations not only in the coats, but in the trousers as well (so many patterns!). There is an immense wealth of grist here. Now I just need to settle in and actually do the work! I'm looking forward to it, though, while most people couldn't afford the extravagance of so many different suits and coats, men of wealth and leisure ( and certainly royalty!) had more options than I ever imagined. It will be fun to see what sort of things I can use for my various characters.
* This post was reproduced from my Reconstruction website (where you will see why I have been too busy to post here, I hope).
Peterson's magazine was practically a staple for ladies in the American Victorian home. Next to Godey's Lady's Book, it was certainly the most popular. Published monthly, it contained stories, fashion plates (both hand-colored and black & white engravings), advice on home management (furnishing, cooking, maintenance, and sewing), poetry, songs, embroidery patterns, and much more.
Many women saved the magazine for its tips and illustrations, and if it was economically feasible for them, had it bound. This edition in my collection is from 1867 and once belonged to Jennie L. Howard.
Peterson's Magazine hasn't been published in over a hundred years, but its popularity with collectors (particularly for its fold-out colored fashion plates), is rivaled only by that of Godey's. Both single loose issues and bound volumes can readily be found at antiquarian book stores and auctions, but prices can vary radically depending on the age, condition, and contents of the magazine. I got a bargain when I found this volume online for less than $20. I love it not only for its plates but because it's a window into the popular culture of the 19th century, its trends, attitudes, and amusements for women of a growing middle class.
I have some more plates to share from Peterson's from my personal collection, but they are not from this particular volume.
Here's a plate from Graham's Home Magazine (for ladies, of course), June 1852. Graham's is somewhat lesser known than Godey's and Harper's Bazar, but has some of the nicest plates I've seen.
In case it's not obvious, I haven't managed to get back in the saddle on this whole blogging my paper dolls thing, which is just giving all sorts of grief. If it's any consolation, I have acquired some interesting original fashion resources (including Demorest's, Harper's Bazar, and Peterson's), which I am looking forward to sharing with you!
Along with, I really really hope, some actual new paper doll outfits!