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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Satirical Prints

So I was checking out the links from other regiments in the area, I like looking at their pictures and seeing what events they are planning on attending. In my cyber travels I stumbled upon this great little website called the "The Hive Online". They are in Mass and they have some workshops to help people with different aspects of 18th century living. I am not sure if the classes are open to everyone, or if they are meant just for the members of their regiment, but it looks really neat. I may have to look into their classes more.

But what I found really interesting on their site was some pictures of Satirical Prints from the late 18th century. Satirical Prints were little "comic" prints that made some sort of statement about the culture, religion, or customs of the time. These have been around for hundreds of years and are still around in all different forms today. I like these prints because it gives us a slight inkling of what people dressed like at the time. I am not looking at the subject of the print, because of course they are over-dramatized to get a reaction out of people, but I think there is a lot of value in looking beyond the subject and taking a look at what the people are wearing. It's very difficult to find paintings of women that were not royalty or close to it. A common housewife probably couldn't afford to have her picture painted, and even if she did have the money to have one done, I would imagine that she would dress in her finest for the sitting, not in her everyday clothes. You have to think that getting your picture painted in the 18th century cost quite a bit of money, so whether you were rich, poor, or middle class, if you were going to put down the money to be painted, you were most likely going to look your best. Not to say that there aren't a few examples out there of a more common experience, but in general I have found most of the paintings to be a lot nicer then I imagine the everyday people dressed. Now of course I know none of this for fact, but it makes common sense to me. These prints give us a small window into what a woman going to market may have dressed like. To be honest I was very enthralled looking at these because I am missing a few things, like a good shawl, that it looks like a common woman would have worn quite a bit. So I really enjoyed looking at these prints and getting a feel for the more everyday look.

Here is one of the prints I really liked (Picture is clickable for the original site, that this came from):

In this print the girl is wearing two skirts, and she has one tucked up, she also has a small shawl that is tucked into a band of some sort across the chest. I have not seen this kind of thing anywhere else, but I think it makes sense, because one may not want to wear a large shawl that would be tucked into the apron, a smaller one may be more sufficient, especially if it's warmer out and rather than tucking it into the top of the dress, to have a band of some sort to hold the shawl in place would make sense. I wish there was more on this, perhaps it's a ribbon tied around the top of the dress? I also like that she has a ribbon choker around her neck, a very plain and simple one. I have often wondered if I could wear something around my neck, and this shows me that perhaps they did even when they were out doing their daily tasks.

These are a great resource for men and women's clothing. You can also see some more prints from all different dates here:

I think each of these really give us a real look at the real, everyday people of this time.

Believe me yours faithfully,

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