Monday, June 30, 2014

Les Costumes François, Plate 8

ARTISANS.
THE MASON AND THE LAUNDRESS.

By Artisans one means a Class of Men who devote their lives to mechanical Arts; one of the most essential to society is the Mason. He builds our homes and works to shelter us from the bad weather of the seasons; those who prepare our Foodstuffs for us are at least as useful, but there are others who only work to content our luxury, and those, whether the richest, are not the most necessary to an estate. The rank of Artisans in the Civil Order is after the Merchant, their dress hardly distinguishes them from the Bourgeois, they nevertheless prefer strong colors for their suits, such as a Chestnut-colored coat and a red vest. We have represented here the Mason in a worker's dress, he is in a cap, vest, and apron, working to stir his mortar.

Among the female Artisans, we have chosen by preference the Laundress. She is represented dressed following the people of her estate, carrying a basket loaded with linens and the beater in her hand. Laundresses are nearly the only ones who have united and formed in Paris a type of community, they celebrate Mi-Carême* among themselves with a party, they elect on this day a Queen and give her an Equerry; the Master of Ceremonies is usually a Water-bearer. The day of the party arrived, the Queen, supported by her Equerry, is taken into the Boat where Minstrels wait for her; there is dancing and it is she who opens the ball. The dance lasts up to 5 o'clock in the evening. The Knights rent a Carriage to come; the Queen gets in it with her Equerry and the whole gay band follows on foot. They go with her to a Tavern to reunite for the whole night.

* one of the celebrations of Carnaval, on the third Thursday of Lent

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Louise Chéruit (ca. 1870?-1935)

Louise Chéruit (not Madeleine) is another of those couturiers that has been forgotten by historical chance, whose style and contributions are almost unknown today, despite the fact that she may be the only designer mentioned in Vile Bodies.

Mme Chéruit, by Paul-César Helleu, ca. 1901
Unlike Pingat, we do know where Chéruit learned her trade - though in most sources there is a little confusion over whether it was Raudnitz et Cie, or Ernest Raudnitz. Raudnitz et Cie was opened in the 1870s by Ernest and his sisters, and in 1883 Ernest left to form his own house at 23 Louis-le-Grand, just down the street from Pingat. As Chéruit and her sister, Marie Huet, eventually took over Raudnitz et Cie, it's most likely that that was where they were both trained.

In the January 1899 edition of Le Jacquard, a trade journal for the wool industry, Huet & Chéruit are noted as having set up to sell gowns and confections in December 1898 at 13 rue Grange-Batelière, in the premises that were previously run by Mme Raudnitz (the source is a list of people admitted as experts in, I think, a legal court; it's interesting that Mme Worth is one of them). For some time, the sisters kept "Raudnitz et Cie" on their labels above or below their names, most likely in order to remind longtime Raudnitz patrons that this was the same company. It even remained in the early 1910s, when Chéruit had moved to 21 Place Vendôme (a much more fashionable address).

According to the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art, Chéruit purchased twelve of Paul Poiret's designs in 1898, which means that some of the first gowns the sisters showed under their own label might have been his. I'd like to have attended that show!

same source as extract below
The salerooms and fitting rooms of maison Chéruit are admirably decorated with wood and antique paintings. They are arranged with the most artistic taste. One of the rooms, amongothers, truly a little gem, possesses a remarkable ceiling, painted by Huet, which is a marvel of art and would be worthy of being in a museum. 
Maison Chéruit is the meeting place of the most refined clientele. They know well that they will find in all her designs impeccable art and absolute care for line which has made the renown of the house. 
What is meant by "line", this word that is said so often and without which there is never true elegance? It is a certain curved line with waving inflections in which artists have found all the elements of beautiful figures. And beauty, in effect, cannot be perfect if it doesn't have the subtle and necessary grace of the line. Chéruit's designs offer all the graceful simplicity of form which constitutes elegance and which multiplies a woman's seductions. ... 
Such exquisite creations in gowns, cloaks, and furs does the grand couture house, which has such influence over fashion and which decides in some way what it will be tomorrow, present us. The taste of Mme Chéruit, so original, so fine, and so personal, has placed the house in the first rank, in Paris and in the whole world. 
Further, we should not forget to add that, some years ago, Mme Chéruit created a new department for babies and little girls.
- La Ville Lumière, 1909, pp.97-98 
I can find few sources from the earliest years of Huet & Chéruit; they pick up at the end of the 1900s, by which time the house is referred to only as Chéruit. In the Dry Goods Reporter (1903), it's referred to as Huet & Chéruit; a Parisian shopping guide (1907) refers to both sisters only in the index - in the main text, the house is known as Chéruit. (Some state or imply that the house became "Chéruit" in 1906; so far I've found no solid evidence of that, but the dating of these references make it seems likely.) Around the same time, Chéruit engaged in an affair with Paul Helleu, who drew numerous portraits of her.

It's difficult to balance the positive statements about this or that designer being ahead of the trend in fashion magazines: they're made without actually knowing what's coming. But with the benefit of hindsight, we can read this article from the Woman's Home Companion (Fall fashion number, 1909) and interpret Paquin's princess cuts, Callot Soeurs' drapery, Drécoll's long suit coats, and, most significantly, Chéruit's raised waistline as trends that would continue into the 1910s.

"French Evening Gown with Wrapped Overskirt" a Chéruit design, Woman's Home Companion, 1910
By 1910, Chéruit was among the top designers, listed as a genius with Paquin, Callot Soeurs, Poiret, and Drécoll; another magazine lists Chéruit as the second of nine couturiers that "are the chief representatives of this French supremacy" in the fashion business, together making almost 70 million francs a year. And when Lucien Vogel began the high end, extremely expensive magazine Gazette du Bon Ton in 1912, he chose to sign Chéruit along with six other top designers to exclusive contracts.

In the same year, she was credited in several places as being a potential originator of the "panier effect", a piece of 18th century historicism, possibly drawn from her own collection of antique dress, that was the opposite of Poiret's lampshade tunic. The style might have been a precursor to a later skirt silhouette, popular in the late teens and very early '20s, which had more volume in the hips. Even without that influence, though, shorter overskirts were at the cutting edge of fashion at the time, and it's telling that Chéruit was a leading part of it.
example of the panier fashion, Silk, May 1912

Then, in 1914, a New York Times article credits her with even more innovation:
Last Spring this establishment changed the existing line of a woman's figure by making its greatest circumference just below the knee, and it was then rumored that the next step would be to drop the tight underskirt that increased the seeming size of the tunic's hem and lengthen the tunic into a full skirt, having one garment instead of two. 
This prophecy came true. Cheruit simply made the overskirt into a lower skirt, thereby putting the fullness at the shoetops instead of the line below the knees. And it really is at the shoetops, for never were gowns so short for street wear since the early days when our ancestresses went out in public far more uncovered than the modern woman dares to be. 
The house of Cheruit was not alone in this simple adjustment of our lower garment which, however, spells such a drastic change in our apparel; all the other houses did it, showing some prearranged plan, no matter how much the Syndicate may deprecate it. Each house, however, had its own way of making the greatest circumference at the shoe tops, and Mme Cheruit's way may prevail, as her long tunic certainly gowned all the States last Summer, and is really doing so now. ...
Chéruit summer gown, Gazette de Bon Ton, May 1914
In 1915, Harper's Bazar was advertising itself in many other magazines with the promise of bringing readers the designs of Louise Chéruit, "master of the art of drapery" with "unquestioned standing", pointing to her power and popularity even during World War I. However, at the time she was apparently embroiled in a scandal involving an Austrian lover (though I can't find independent corroboration of this off Wikipedia), and there were rumors that she had been shot as a spy, as nobody had seen her in some time or knew where she was. After the wave of 1915 ads touting Chéruit's name and skills, maison Chéruit is still included in lists of top couturiers, but references to being at the top of fashion or creating new styles cease - coinciding with the sale of the house to Louise Boulanger and a Mme Wormser. Apparently they considered changing the name of the house to Wormser and Boulanger in 1916, but, like Marie and Louise, they found it more profitable to retain the name their clients were familiar with.

Models from Harper's Bazar, January 1916
I can't find any more information on Louise Chéruit - the Wikipedia article says that she retired in 1923, but there's no evidence that she stayed on after selling the house. An article covering the house's designs in 1916 implies that she was no longer involved at that time. She died in 1935, and soon after Elsa Schiaparelli purchased the premises from Wormser (Boulanger started her own house, Louiseboulanger, in 1927) on her meteoric rise to success.

(Sorry for not using the pictures of the extant pieces in the MMA - none of the photographs are released for academic use yet.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Les Costumes François, Plate 7

THE DOCTOR.

"Honor the Doctor for necessity," says scripture, good reason, was the response, if the motives are only fear of being killed. This response is unjust, why not say that the desire of being healed is the motive which must engage us, and because of which one must wait for help, when one is infirm, if it is for a wise man, who has made a particular and deep study of the construction and the mechanics of the human body, who has observed all the alterations that the seasons, intemperance, excess of every kind, and the decrepitude of age can bring to health, who has made exact and painstaking research into the means that can be employed to repair it, that is a little cleared without a doubt, who say that the science of the Doctor consists of the uncertain opinions, accredited by experience, of which Patients flatter themselves to prolong their days by his advice, and that the knowledge that he has plants only serves to stun men and to trick them. The discoveries that have been made in the art of healing and their success when applied and practiced, invincibly demonstrate the great obligations that mankind must have to those who become skilled in this art, I mean, to the Doctor, they also have a distinguished rank in society, they are personally noble and by consequence Doctors born gentlemen depart from their nobility, their orders are executed by Apothecaries and Surgeons, the former prepare remedies and administer them; the latter perform all the exterior operations necessary for the health of a patient, such as bleeding, dressing wounds, and in a word in the treatment of Patients all must be subordinate to the Doctor. Hippocrates made this the subject of one of his Aphorisms: Surgeons, Apothecaries, watchers, assistants, all are only auxiliaries, it is only the Doctor that should take the helm, as in the print represented here the Doctor takes the pulse from the hand of a sick Lady and at the same time, he looks at the Surgeon and the Apothecary who listen with attention to his order and who have already one and the other instruments in hand to execute them, they are represented in their hospital garments, that is, in the aprons which must be their uniforms.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Isabelle Sloan Rohlfs, 1916

Isabelle Sloan Rohlfs on her wedding day, 1916, 1984.24.3; gown is 1984.24.1 (pattern at link)
This wedding dress is a great example of its period in several ways. The layered closures, snapping to cover each other, all covered with a tunic layer that fastens on the side and at the shoulder; the loose bodice and slight shaping at the waist. The skirt is rather long and narrow, but conservatism in wedding dress is not a strange thing.

The pattern for the crepe top layer of the skirt is somewhat confusing, but the piece is simply so big that it wouldn't fit without abbreviation. Basically, the wavy bottom edge is mirrored on the other side, but it stops where the front edge - continuing in the same straight line - hits it. (The top edge is the same length from center back to center front on both sides.) This era is a very confusing one for patterning: while the foundation layers are usually fitted, most of the outer ones seem to have been draped over the linings on a dress form without any consideration for future patterners trying to create two-dimensional renderings of the pieces.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Les Costumes François, Plate 6

THE BOURGEOIS AND BOURGEOISE.

The bourgeoisie is the most considerable estate in the Kingdom, insomuch as it is the most numerous. It is the bourgeoisie that fills the coffers of the Sovereign and that peoples the Cities. An Empire is more or less flourishing according to the affluence of the Bourgeois. The Kings of France have made such a case of this part of their subjects, that they have exempted the Bouregois of Paris and other great cities of the Kingdom from the rights of the Frankish fiefs, of the bank and back bank, and they have been permitted to bear Arms the same as the noble Knights; but let us see what are the qualities which constitute the bourgeois. In Paris, all the Merchants pass for such and nearly all the inhabitants of Paris take the quality, without which it is contested of them; however, the Merchants and people of matching estate are never regarded as noble. When even they will have acquired the right of nobility to be Aldermen, from the moment that they continue commerce, if it is not under cord, for they are derogated for that by the nobility. In the Provinces, a bourgeois is currently what was formerly a Noble Man; that is to say, an inhabitant of a City who lives nobly on his own revenues without any other business nor career, and more strictly a true bourgeois of Paris only differs from one in the Provinces in that he must enjoy more considerable revenues in order to live honorably. Following the civil order, a Merchant aspires to the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois to the nobility. As the bourgeois is a demi-noble, he sometimes wears black suits like Magistrates, sometimes velvet suits, laced the same as Nobles'; his Spouse does not dare to adorn herself with all the trimmings that distinguish the ladies of quality, that they wear on their gowns; but her outfit and her person are nearly as elegant and as up-to-date, as represented in the Print. She has with her her child, who is dressed in the modern fashion proper to his age and his sex.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Emile Pingat (1820-1901)

For various reasons, certain designers have stuck in the collective consciousness as being the single greatest creative minds of their times. Gabrielle Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet are good examples: as you know, some hold them up as the only important couturiers of the 1920s because they're the two remembered couturiers of the 1920s. When it comes to the mid-to-late 19th century, a similar issue crops up with Charles Frederick Worth. One might conclude that his was the only couture house for the discerning, wealthy woman, but that's not the case. Emile Pingat was Worth's contemporary and equal in the eyes of many American and European women of the period.

Very little is known about Pingat's life, early or later. In 1860 he was first listed in the Paris directory as "Pingat, Hudson et Cie", at 30 rue Louis-le-Grand, (see 1862) selling "nouveautés confect[ionées]";* by the latter half of the decade, Hudson and Co. had gone, and Pingat was solely in charge.

Evening dress, E. Pingat et Cie, ca. 1863; MMA C.I.69.33.12a-c
Evening dress, E. Pingat, ca. 1867; AIHA 1972.95.2
While this other early Pingat evening dress uses more layers of tulle and applied decorations, it's clear that he had an elegant design aesthetic that involved extremely detailed work in small areas, and the use of different fabrics in matching colors. To be honest, I think the level of excellence in proportion and cut surpasses that shown on Worth garments of the same vintage.

Neither Worth nor Pingat turn up in any books or magazines I can find online from the 1860s. But in the 1870s, both are mentioned frequently and almost always in a pair, in both discussions of new fashions and in fiction. While Pingat was clearly (based on these sources, too many to cite separately) considered very talented and his creations beautiful, there's definitely a sense in many texts that Worth was the pinnacle of fashion. However, several other designers are mentioned as also being of great importance.

Three men, three artists, gifted with this instinct or this particular sentiment which is indispensable to anyone, of any class whatsoever, who has beauty as their goal, Messieurs Worth, Aurelly, Pingat; the first one especially, in founding workshops in Paris specially consecrated to dressing women, did more in recent years to direct new fashions in taste and comfort, than the most renowned seamstresses would be able to do in a century. - Revue de France, 1872, vol. 2
Saint-Joseph took from Worth, from Pingat, from Laferrière** a worker, I should say an artist, who excels at fitting a bodice and at giving a skirt folds with the most charming effect. This pearl - one must not call her a worker - goes, when she is called for, to the homes of her clients to fit and compose outfits. - La Vie Parisienne, 1873
Reception dress, Pingat, ca. 1875; PMA 1938.18.12a-b
It is often said (in the few places where he's mentioned) that Pingat was best-known for his outerwear, but this guide to shopping in Paris brings up an interesting perspective:
Paris, and Excursions from Paris, 1873
Worth and Pingat are both listed as the best houses for outerwear, and neither for gowns. (The 1874 Baedecker on Paris doesn't even mention Worth, oddly. But the "After-Dinner Chat About Dress" in an 1877 issue of Industrial Art affirms that Pingat is "the best mantle-maker now in Paris".)

In the 1880s, Pingat is most consistently referred to in the realm of wraps: Godey's in 1884 (1, 2), The Story of Helen of Troy (1881). However, Pingat gowns of this decade do still exist, and there are still references to them in magazines and fiction. In one magazine he is referred to as "the most artistic of the Parisian dress-makers" (while Worth is "pompous and official" and dresses "showy" actresses; the writer also sees Félix as their equal, and mentions a Mme Rodrigues who appears as autocratic and sought-after as Worth); What Can A Woman Do (1885) describes Pingat and Worth as "the two greatest dressmakers in the world".

"Notes from Washington", Folio, 1884

Day dress, Pingat, ca. 1885; MMA 2009.300.628a-b
Mrs. Hephaestus, George Augustus Baker, 1887
Pingat's design sensibility in outerwear differed from that in his dresses. While Pingat gowns tend to be mono- or bichromatic with intricate trims not detracting from the rich fabrics, the fabrics of Pingat outerwear are usually a backdrop for intense beading (though the same stark, almost modern aesthetic is frequently seen). The gowns are masterpieces, but it's easy to see why he became so well-known for mantles and wraps.

Mantle, Pingat, ca. 1891; LACMA M.2007.211.38
In the 1890s, I find more references to Pingat gowns than mantles† - perhaps we should reconsider the common opinion that he was primarily known as a designer of outerwear. His mantles still appeared in magazines, but I wonder if we perhaps give too much weight to the proportions in which his pieces survive. (Something rarely mentioned is that Pingat apparently also produced hats.)

According to the excellent post on the FIDM blog, Pingat left his house in 1896, at the age of 76, selling it to A. Wallès, who chose to move his own business into Pingat's quarters rather than continue under the other's name. Wallès is difficult to find much about, but what little I've come across puts him at Pingat's level in the opinion of the world. Everybody's Magazine (1902) shows a color plate of one of his designs alongside Beer; "The Growth of a Paris Costume" in Lady's Realm (1900) lists him with Worth and Paquin, and uses his company as an example to show how a fashion house works (with photographs - a very interesting resource).

Sadly, there is little-to-no information about Pingat as a person online, and few books offline. The Brooklyn Museum held an exhibition in 1989 titled  The Opulent Era: Fashions of Worth, Doucet, and Pingat (pictured here, no captions, though some of the garments are recognizable and it's possible to make educated guesses about the rest) and it seems a book came out of it, but it's not in my library system and costs hundreds of dollars. What was Pingat like as a person? Who were his family members? Where did he apprentice? Which clients recognized his talents early? Until someone does in-depth research in Parisian archives, it's a mystery.

Worth & Bobergh, in the same book, are listed as having the same; later, in the section for couturiers, they were described as having robes et manteaux confectionnés, soieries, hautes nouveautés in the Rue de la Paix. (Pingat does not appear in that section.) Nouveautés are the newest and most fashionable gowns. Confections were ready-made items, according to the guidebook excerpted later. I honestly don't know what to make of this yet - I conjectured the end for "confect." for Pingat based on Worth's first reference, which makes the description for both in the standard directory "ready-made new designs". This has been translated/explained as "outfitter of fancy designs", but I'm not sure that's necessarily what was intended. The whole thing is very confusing.

** The 1881 Baedecker lists all three of these as the most fashionable and expensive milliners/dressmakers. An 1887 novel, As in a Looking Glass, says that Laferrière is a woman (or possibly that his wife was highly involved with the business - another reference is to Laferrière as a man). I have also found references to "Pingat-Laferrière" - the two houses may have combined, with Pingat's name taking primacy as the more successful partner.

† For example: Good Housekeeping (1891), Extenuating Circumstances (1891), Table Talk (1895), Ladies' Home Journal (Nov 1895), The Ladies' Juggernaut (1895)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Les Costumes François, Plate 5


THE FINANCIER AND THE ABBE.

The name of Financier is given to a citizen charged with the collection of State revenues. A man of this type will be, without contradiction, very estimable, if he proportions the gains he makes to his place with his labors, but as he is persuaded that his administration is a beautiful machine, he believes himself the most important man and with the safety of a thousand efforts that he enjoys and which are unknown to the public, he often abuses his job. However, several Financiers are found in the Kingdom who distinguish themselves by their probity and their facetious manners. The Financier's clothes are rich; his magnificent apartments and the plumpness with which he is shown here announce his opulence. His luxury often effaces other people's, who by state are obliged to distinguish themselves from common men. Formerly protegés of people of rank, financiers want to become their rivals, and most often proud of their richness, some take a tone of haughtiness and sternness which is revolting. As La Bruyere, in reflecting on richness, cannot prevent himself from saying that nothing slightly proves a thing given by God to men, in according it to them, more than the dispensation that he makes to the people who merit it the least. The 2nd figure represented in this plate is that of an Ecclesiastic in a short coat and a little cloak, such as he wears at court. Among Ecclesiastics, there are found in the smallest number some with a petit maître's tone, with playful manners and silk clothes: while in suit, in gait, in composure, and in the discourse of a true Ecclesiastic he must announce his character; modesty, humility, and Evangelical simplicity must be his appurtenances. The greatest number still preserves the spirit of this state and lives with all possible decency. The one represented in this plate has a rather honest composure and tone, and if by chance some are found who do not have these qualities of which we have spoken, it is on them that the reproach must fall and not on the religion, which is always wholesome and intact, despite the abuses some of its members make.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Coming in Autumn 2016

I'm 26, coming of age into the post-recession world in a field that is largely government- and charity-funded, and therefore dropped half of its workforce just before I was ready to join it. I've done some work in the field and as much as a temp out of it; in the periods of unemployment I've applied to every lower-level history museum job out there, and worked on taking patterns (see my grand project label) to make a book on 18th century women's dress. I spent the past year writing the explanatory text - my handwriting isn't as good as Janet Arnold's, so it has to be moved off the pattern, which introduces more confusion and explanation - along with an introduction, a description of the progress of women's dress over the course of the century, and a description of the usual construction techniques.

In academia, it's not considered sensible to write a book before you have a contract. You're supposed to write a proposal and send it to publishers, get accepted, and then do the work. And that is sensible - you're going to have to travel and do research, which means taking time off of work and spending money.

I broke the rule because I was so enthusiastic about the project, but also because I wasn't sure a proposal would work. Maybe my perception is skewed by the museum world, where fashion's uncomfortable place between material culture and art make it frequently neglected, but it seemed very possible to me that no publishers would be interested in this book. I mean, at one museum where I inquired about the extent of their costume collection, I was told that "you don't really need patterns for that period, anyway" - who could tell if a publisher would care as much as I did about documenting the progress of the pointed waist seam, or the shaping of the top of a petticoat? And I was right: the first (very academic) publisher I sent a query letter for the finished book turned me down, and even the second, which was much more likely, was uninterested.

So then in February I tried Batsford, an imprint of Pavilion Books, previously Anova. It's been a publisher of important fashion texts for a long time, which was intimidating, but if there were any publisher (other than the second that tacitly turned me down) that would want a book of historical patterns, it would be Batsford. And I was ecstatic when I received a positive response, even though it wasn't an immediate yes. Kristy Richardson, a senior editor, wanted to take some samples of the work to the London Book Fair in April to gauge interest. It was very good that I had done the whole book then, let me tell you, because I'm not sure I would have gotten that without something that could be shown.

Three of my patterns had decent photos and represented the breadth of the book: a European undress jacket from the 1730s, a ca. 1770 sacque with petticoat, and a Neoclassical chemise gown. I redrew them to fit properly on the page and inked them so they would read better and be more editable. And then waited. Finally, the book fair came and I found out that it had done well!

Over the course of the next few months, there were more discussions at Pavilion and between myself and Ms. Richardson, and it was finally decided: I'm going to be contracted to write a new book of patterns dated 1800-1830, to be published in autumn 2016, and the 18th century book may follow it.

Bad news for people who wanted to make a satin robe à la Harpie, but very good news for Regency enthusiasts!

And a lot of it is down to you, readers. Your comments and even your quiet hits have done so much to encourage me at a difficult time in my life, when sometimes everything seems impossible. I'm still struggling with (un)employment, but now I at least have a purpose, gowns to pattern, and an audience to please. As the heading implies, you won't be seeing it for some time, but it will be happening and I can't wait to share it with you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mrs. Joseph Mead's Slippers, 1856

Wedding slippers, 1966.21.3a-b (pattern available at link)
Unfortunately, I don't know anything about Joseph Mead's unnamed wife. And her wedding gown either no longer survives or is being held somewhere else. The attribution might not even be correct - it's based on a handwritten note placed inside one shoe (the handwriting does look to be Victorian, however, so I tend to think it was done by someone with first-hand knowledge).

I wish the gown did survive - not just because every surviving gown is a victory against entropy and the Lone Power, but because that fabric is pretty amazing, and I would love to see it stretching over the yards and yards of an 1850s skirt. However, these slippers are in good condition, and it's good to have them! The construction is very simple, and anyone who wants to have slippers to match her gown should be able to use the pattern to make them.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Les Costumes François, Plate 4


RELIGIOUS MEN AND WOMEN.

The word Monk means alone: it was given in the early Church to Christians who lived far from the commerce of men, to be particularly sacred to God; several of these Monks, being united, lived under the government of a Superior, at which time they were no longer truly Monks; while the Benedictines and those who live in Abbeys, having kept this denomination, they are called Religious Men. Their dress consists of a Tunic and a Hood, the dress most conformed to the voluntary humility of their state. The Capuchins were not very removed from this manner of dress, as can be seen in the figure represented here: they are dressed in a large gown, a cloak, and a hood of a thick grey cloth; they have sandals, wear a beard and a crown of hair. Religious Men possess nothing, they live only on alms; Cloisters used to be protected in men's Monasteries, which had a hospice to receive strangers, in which secular people were allowed to go, but the prohibition has still persisted for women.

The name Religious Woman is given to a girl or widow who professes to live in the monastic state. There are different orders; the principal orders of religious women are the Dominicans, the Poor Clares, the Augustinians. The one that we have represented here is of the rule of St. Benoit, which has a dress similar to the Benedictines, and is devoted to the perpetual adoration of the St. Sacrement. What principally distinguishes Religious Women from Religious Men is the cloister: they are enclosed by walls, doors, and grilles that prevent them from passing, and the interior of which strangers cannot enter without the permission of a superior Ecclesiastic. The vow of perpetual cloister is essential to their state, however, it is permitted for them, mainly Abbesses and Superiors, to leave for good reasons and with dispensations, when it is necessary for the reestablishment of their health, for the good of the House, etc. etc.