Tag: Paintings

James Tissot’s Fashion Plates (1864-1878):  A Guest Post by Lucy Paquette

Today, I am very pleased to welcome art historian and author Lucy Paquette  with a fascinating guest post on fashion in the paintings of Victorian era artist James Tissot!

In the Conservatory (Rivals), c. 1875, by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 15 1/8 by 20 1/8 in. (38.4 by 51.1 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

No one captured the rapidly-changing fashion trends of the 1860s and 1870s like French painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836 – 1902).  Tissot was more than merely a painter of fashionable women.  His mother and her sister were partners in a successful millinery company.  Tissot’s father established a booming business as a wholesale linen draper – a trader in fabrics and dress trimmings to retailers and exporters.  At 19, Tissot moved to Paris to study painting, and he gained the technical skills to record the fashionable female form of this period – tall, slim figures heightened by high chignons, hats, and heels, with silhouettes changing every few years.[…]Continue Reading

The Origins of the Unicorn

The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino, 1602.
The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino, 1602.

According to historians, the legend of the unicorn first emerged in 398 BC courtesy of the Greek physician Ctesias.  Ctesias wrote an account of India, titled Indica.  He attests that all recorded within his account are things that he has witnessed himself or that he has had related to him by credible witnesses.  This account of India, though largely lost, has been preserved in a fragmentary abstract made in the 9th century by Photios I of Constantinople.  In the twenty-fifth fragment, Ctesias writes of the unicorn, stating:[…]Continue Reading

Riding Habits of the 19th Century

Equestrian Portrait of Mademoiselle Croizette by Carolus-Duran, 1876.
Equestrian Portrait of Mademoiselle Croizette by Carolus-Duran, 1876.

Riding habits of the 19th century were both fashionable and functional.  They were designed to flatter the figure, camouflage the dirt, and withstand the physical rigors of horseback riding.  These basic, practical considerations did not change a great deal from season to season.  As a result, the favored fabrics, cuts, and colors of riding habits at the end of the century were, in general, not hugely dissimilar from those at the beginning.  As an 1842 issue of The Lady’s Companion states:

 “While carriage and walking-dresses are continually changing in fashion, there occurs but little or no variation in the style of riding habits.”

[…]Continue Reading

Art and Inspiration: The Paintings of Gustave Léonard de Jonghe

Vanity by Gustave Léonard de Jonghe.
Vanity by Gustave Léonard de Jonghe.

As a writer and art lover, I often find inspiration in the artwork of the general period in which I am writing.  18th and 19th century paintings, especially, can evoke a particular thought or feeling that is helpful to me in my creative process.  Perhaps an expression in a portrait triggers an idea for a trait in one of my heroines.  Or perhaps a landscape inspires me to set a scene in a park.  Often, inspiration is triggered by nothing more than a particular color – a red scarf or a pair of blue shoes.[…]Continue Reading

The Pet Parrot: As Depicted in 18th and 19th Century Art, Literature, & History

Woman at the Piano with Cockatoo by Gustave Léonard de Jonghe, (1870).
Woman at the Piano with Cockatoo by Gustave Léonard de Jonghe, (1870).

When thinking of 18th and 19th century pets, we inevitably imagine dogs or cats or small, caged canaries.  Large and colorful exotic birds are not generally the type of animal we envision inhabiting the pages of a Georgian or Regency novel, much less an actual Georgian or Regency home.  It may surprise you to learn that parrots were, in fact, quite popular as pets during the 18th and 19th centuries.[…]Continue Reading