Showing posts from March, 2018

Portrait Analysis: Susan Brown Moody

I haven't done a post about a painting in a long time! But this painting is the St. Lawrence County Historical Association 's Object of the Week, and I'm taking the opportunity to write more for those members of our Facebook page who'd like more information than will tidily fit in a post there. (And to link back to the museum where I curate for those readers here who might like to follow it!) Portrait of Susan Brown Moody, 1830-1835; SLCHA 1988-8.1 This portrait was initially purchased by the museum at Sotheby's in 1988 as "Clarissa Moody Wright in her wedding bonnet". Let's really dig into the clothing on view here, and then I'll talk some more about why this piece is of such interest to the SLCHA. A dark-colored gown is very common on sitters in folk portraits, but it's not always so common to see this much detail! Quite often, the dress is a kind of dark mass that sets off the whitework on the cap and pelerine. Here, we can see tha

A Georgian Reading List

I don't even remember what  I was researching at the time, but as I went browsing through sources from the mid-18th century, I came across the play Polly Honeycombe , written in 1760 by George Coleman the Elder. It's a short farce about a girl who reads so many novels that she interprets her life through their tropes and clichés; unlike you'd expect, she ends up on top and never learns her lesson. In the preface, Coleman shares his mother's criticism of the piece, as well as a long excerpt from a letter she supposedly wrote to him, sharing her experience on a visit to the mercer's to buy fabric for clothes for the general mourning: The goodwoman [the mercer's wife] was sitting alone (the two girls being, it seems, gone to see the scaffolding in Westminster Abbey) industriously employed in making up her own mourning; but her daughters gowns, just come from the Mantua-maker's, lay in the window; and black caps, black fans, black gloves, &c. from the mil