Friday, January 4, 2013

Painting Costume Analysis: Pamela Series, Part Three

III: Pamela Fainting, Joseph Highmore, 1743-4; National Gallery of Victoria 1114-3

This painting depicts one of Mr. B's nighttime attempts on Pamela's virtue.  He was hidden in the room and waited as Pamela undressed for bed:



 (Letter XXV) I pulled off my stays, and my stockings, and all my clothes to an under-petticoat; and then hearing a rustling again in the closet, I said, Heaven protect us! but before I say my prayers, I must look into this closet.  And so was going to it slip-shod, when, O dreadful! out rushed my master in a rich silk and silver morning gown.

There is not much to say about Pamela's dress.  Her nightclothes are her shift and an underpetticoat, and a cap that ties under the chin.  Her sleeves are very full, and it looks like there's something going on at the neckline.  Mrs. Jervis is dressed the same way.


Mr. B is wearing clothing of interest, however!  His night-cap is grey silk satin, not embroidered or embellished in any way.  While the text describes him as wearing a "silk and silver morning gown", Highmore painted him in pink or beige taffeta.  His black silk breeches can be seen underneath, as well as his grey silk waistcoat with a wide gold braid.  His stockings lack sheen, so they are probably cotton or linen, and over them he's wearing a pair of leather slippers.

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