Monday, December 12, 2011

Regency Fashion in the American South: It's not you, it's me...

...which is the reason I didn't pick you as my Fall 2011 term project topic! I swear!

Yes, yes. More with the "School work" talk.

 A lady of Mississippi or Louisiana, date unknown. Also source unknown. :/ I suspect that this is about a decade earlier than most of the rest, though.

Before I hit upon the idea/insanity/soul-crushing-enormity of Jehossee, I bandied about a few other ideas. One of the foresaken project ideas was to compare Regency-era garments from a specific year (1810? 1815?) from a few Southern states with the fashionable ideal presented in fashion plates from the same year. While I initially focused on extant garments, I quickly cast a wider net for clear representations in prints and paintings as well. Because folks, there isn't much.

From the Smithsonian. 1812-1815, Richmond Virginia.

It was a good idea... I think. Maybe. Or maybe it was hideous. I don't really know, since I abandoned the whole thing after a rather disheartening few weeks spent culling internet archives and print sources for Regency gowns that were definitively associated with specific Southern states.

I managed to find a few, but then my pathetically legalistic brain kept tripping over the date attributions that the museums (or whomever owned the garment or painting) supplied. Meaning that if you're trying to do a project that is totally dependent upon a specific year as a "control" factor for a group of otherwise barely related items, the word "circa" becomes your worst enemy. Because with rare exception, the hard-and-fast dates of many antiques, whether garments or paintings, is simply not known. A disparity of a few years isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but if you're trying to figure out if the good ladies of Georgia were 5 years, 3 years or 10 years behind Paris standard fashion-plate time, it can be a VERY big deal.

 Smithsonian? 1815. Richmond, Virginia.

So the images you've seen in this post are what's left in my "Prj.2011/Reg." folder on ye olde computer. And darn it, it would have been a cool topic. Maybe.

I would really, really like to include the source of everything posted, but I've lost some of the original locations. If you see something that you recognize that isn't attributed, don't hesitate to let me know!

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