Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update: One More Extravagant Daughter Anne, c 1775

Saturday, January 21, 2012
Susan reporting:

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!

10 comments:

Susan Holloway Scott said...

There's been an interesting discussion over on my Facebook page about the ermine trim on the mother's pelisse. I'm going to post the comments below - with due credit, of course!

Hallie Larkin said...

I would venture Mom is trying to pull off ermine with dyed rabbit or another less expensive fur.

Actually just found a reference to " spotted ermine knapt coatings" , Boston News Letter, 1754, so the trim could possible also be a cloth?

Sharon Burnston said...

Plush.

Susan Holloway Scott said...

So y'think country Mom is trying to be pretentious, too? Or maybe pelisse is left from her own stylish youth? It seems like it must be there for some "purpose" esp since it's in none of the other similar prints.

Hallie Larkin said...

Ermine itself is commonly advertised here in the colonies for cloak trimming so it could be exactly what it looks like, ermine. Found some references to grey ermine, spotted with red and spotted with black, all cloak trimmings, there are hundreds of these ads, so a popular and available choice, not sure of the price point.

Chris Woodyard said...

Perhaps she bought the cloak second-hand?

Sharon Burnston said...

The plush faux-fur was common enough that I think it wasn't all that upscale. But it may have had "country-folk" associations which are lost on us.

Margaret Evans Porter said...

As a countryside dweller, alternately US & UK, I can attest o the ready availability of weasels, stoats, ermines. Anyone skilled at setting snares would have been able to obtain "luxurious" fur for trimming or lining garments. Papa might be a gamekeeper, or a dedicated vermin-killer protecting the family chicken coop.

Freyalyn said...

What springs to my mind is that the mother's ermine pelisse is the last reminder of her own youth and the things she did to afford her comfortable retirement in the country! And she has the cheek to be shocked that her daughter has done exactly the same thing to set herself up....

Christine H. said...

How interesting about the fur. And the hair just keeps getting bigger. What a riot.

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