After the two posts this week featuring the 18th c satirical prints of daughter Ann horrifying her country mother with her London clothes, hairstyles, and morality (here and here, if you missed them), we heard from one of our readers, Cathy Kawalek, who had an Ann print of her own to share, left. The caption: Be not amaz'd Dear MOTHER...It is indeed your DAUGHTER ANNE.
Cathy bought the print at auction several years ago. The auction entry included this description: "One of a series of late 18th century 'droll' mezzotints which, like the Macaroni images, made fun of Georgian society. The image of a country woman meeting her daughter now in fashionable London dress was issued to exploit a popular joke. Mezzotints by Adams, Carington Bowles, John Bowles, and Sledge all appeared between 1773-75."
Once again there's the same theme - open-mouthed Mother is horrified by Anne's changed appearance - with a couple of differences. Anne's dress is even more extravagant, with sleeve flounces that fall clear to her knees and a richly embroidered gown. To look after her lap-dog, she's brought an attendant with her, an African or Indian servant, the perfect exotic accessory to a London lady of fashion. Mother is dressed in the same country-style apron, buckled shoes, and black hat that we've seen before, but with one surprising difference. She's also wearing a hooded pelisse, trimmed with ermine fur. Ermine is expensive, a fur used on noble and royal regalia as well as on fashionable clothes (like this.) So why is the country mother wearing it? Is the pelisse a costly, inappropriate gift from Anne to her mother? Or is there some now-forgotten joke connected to it that 18th c viewers would have understood immediately?
Above: "Be not amazed Dear Mother" after Samuel Grimm; printed for Carington Bowles, London, after 1774. From collection of Cathy Kawalek. Many thanks to Cathy for sharing this with us!
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.