Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Garters at work

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Loretta reports:

Susan & I have had several discussions about garters, and where it is best to tie them if you are living in the days before the latest thing, i.e., the garters illustrated in my previous blog.

Contemporary illustrations show us that garters could be tied just above the knee or just below it.  Top left, Boucher’s The Toilette (1742), shows a lady tying her garters above her knee.  You’ll note that this is just above the knee, not up on her thigh.

You can blow up this Fragonard painting  and focus on the lady’s garters.  Again, they're tied just above the knee.  Since garters didn’t contain elastic (although they might have springs), one tied them at a place on the leg where a natural bulge would help keep them from sliding down. 

Another good place to tie our heroine’s garters is just below the knee, above the swell of the calf, as Rowlandson illustrates in his Exhibition Stare-Case (ca 1811) and his many erotic engravings.

In the Rowlandson print you’ll notice how smoothly the stockings cling.  But I suspected this was not the case so much in real life.  (Anyone who wore nylon or silk stockings and garters pre-Lycra knows the annoyance of ankle sag.)

Art and illustrations usually show us smooth stockings, as in John Hoppner’s full length portrait of Captain George Porter (second at left).

But not always.  The Guitarist, by Jean Baptiste Greuze (1757), shows us how, I suspect, the stockings usually appeared in real life.


Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Loretta, I have never seen that painting of the frustrated guitarist with the droopy stockings before -- priceless! *g*

Monica Burns said...

Anyone who wore nylon or silk stockings and garters pre-Lycra knows the annoyance of ankle sag

This reminded me of a movie I once saw of the American Revolution. I remember at the time while I was looking at Ben Franklin that he needed to pull his hose up because it made him look really rumpled and more like a ruffian than a polished gentleman rebel. *grin*

Joanna Waugh said...

One of my very favorite expressions is the threat, "I'll use your guts for garters!"

LorettaChase said...

Susan, I was so excited to find droopy stockings! Monica, now we must imagine all those polished gentlemen in saggy hose. Jo, that phrase almost always comes to mind when I hear or say or think "garters." It's a great expression.

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