Saturday, 30 June 2007

Furbeloes of 1801



Many of the pictures of women in the Lewis Walpole Library eighteenth century collection are misogynistic - grotesque, or mocking, weird & creepy, or all of the above.

But sometimes they're funny as well.

11 comments:

Bernice said...

Have to say I'm a bit confused about the orientation of the bonnet? if that's what it is?

lucy tartan said...

It's a bonnet and it's not drawn very well. The idea was to show how stupidly large a fashionable bonnet is - there are lots of caricatures of the Fashions showing women with dresses that are too skimpy and headdresses that are too overblown. But he wanted to mock the back view here hence the strange bonnet angle.

I am assuming that the picking out the wedgie moment in this picture is actually what is being depicted and not some sort of anachronism I'm projecting onto it.

Anonymous said...

I dunno. I had a look (quickly, I admit) at the pictures of men: on the whole they're grotesque, mocking, weird or creepy. Very 'Punch', many of them. I don't think this is evidence of mysogny.

lucy tartan said...

Please, could you sign your comment? Obviously I don't want to pretend I can make you, but I would appreciate it if you provided some kind of identity so I don't feel like I'm speaking to a completely undefined figure. Ta.

I'm wondering if you're the same anonymous person who commented in the conversation about the etched glass doors I'm putting in my house.

lucy tartan said...

I agree that the caricatures show men in unflattering lights too, but the women are mocked in ways that are heavily sexualised while the men aren't, not even the fops who are mocked for their silly clothes.

I enjoy this sort of research very much and I think the eighteenth century would have been a great time to be alive (for some) but I don't want to falsely idealise it either.

Neil said...

Don't mean to be rude - I only didn't sign my comment b/c signing would require me remembering a password. No, I didn't comment on the etched doors. Of course I wouldn't be surprised if you were right about misogyny: there was (and is) a lot of it about. Searching on 'women' didn't give me a lot of evidence of it, though. Can you suggest some examples?

lucy tartan said...

Hi Neil, you don't need to sign in, you could just put Neil at the bottom. Thanks though for going to the trouble.

Without tut-tutting at poor old c18 for its ill manners - this one leapt to mind: six stages of mending a face.

The misogyny doesn't materially bother me, really. I was just idly remarking that it's there but nonetheless there's a wit and energy to almost all this stuff which cancels problems out.

I wasn't looking for material to do with race but I came across some anyway, and I feel much less sanguine and indulgent towards that.

mike said...

Last Christmas I treated myself to Vic Gatrell's 'City of Laughter' - a book on 18th century satirical prints in London, with really lovely reproductions ("lovely" meaning the quality of their images, not their content). Well worth looking up if you like this sort of thing.

It has lots of background on the more famous artists (Rowlandson, Gilray and Cruikshank) and goes into to what extent the prints reflected the attitudes of the audience - mostly upper-class and male although there's some evidence that women enjoyed them as well.

I'm sure wedgie-picking humour has existed wherever there have been bottoms and clothes to get stuck in them. There's a nasty joke in one of the Roman satirists - Martial I think - about some poor woman getting up without realising that her robe's caught in her bum.

lucy tartan said...

Thanks Mike, sounds excellent.

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