Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case MB2A, Shelf DR85

The Bridesmaid

Print
1855 (published)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Many of the advice books and magazines of the day bear testimony to the Victorians' increasing preoccupation with wedding conduct and etiquette. Dress was a subject of much discussion. The young lady in this image is wearing a cape, possibly a burnouse, which was a cashmere wrap which fastened at the neck and sometimes had a hood, or imitation hood, attached. Here the hood is trimmed with passementerie tassels which were a highly popular dress trimming in the mid 19th century. The lady is carrying a posy of flowers. It was traditional for bridesmaids to carry posies at this time and these were usually the gift of the bridegroom on the wedding morning, received when they were fresh. It is an interesting detail that the colour of the flowers match the colours of the cape and dress. Matching colour schemes in wedding dress and bouquets were popular in the nineteenth century. The bride probably wore white and this dress would have complemented it without standing out too much or overshadowing it.

The fact that this lady is painted alone may indicate she was a single bridesmaid but may also have been intended to pander to the popularity of images of solitary female figures. Victorian brides often had many bridesmaids but sometimes they only had one. She would have been a younger sister, relative or close friend of the bride. Here the way in which she turns to look at the viewer before leaving through the door on the left, adds an element of heightened anticipation

George Baxter is one of the few printmakers who have given their name to a printmaking technique. His patented process combined printing from etched or aquatinted metal plates with printing from wood-engraved blocks. The blocks were printed in oil colours, which gave the resulting prints a richness of colour that some of the earlier attempts at full colour printing lacked. The Baxter process was later overtaken by colour lithography as a method of printing in colour.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Baxter print on paper
Brief Description
Print by George Baxter, 'The Bridesmaid,' Baxter-process print, untrimmed proof, England, 1855
Physical Description
Image depicts a woman in a cloak, holding a posy in her right hand and turning to look at the viewer as she leaves through a door on the left. Proof untrimmed and letterd with title.
Dimensions
  • Height: 56.8cm
  • Width: 46.5cm
Style
Production typeProof
Marks and Inscriptions
  • (Lettered with title)
  • (Inscribed in red ink on mount)
Gallery Label
The Bridesmaid Printed 1855 The etiquette and conduct surrounding weddings became increasingly complex during the Victorian period. This included the number of attendants required and what they wore. Bridesmaids were often dressed in contrasting colours to the bride, who usually wore white. Here the bridesmaid carries a posy of flowers. Posies were often the gift of the bridegroom on the wedding morning. Baxter process print on paper By George Baxter (born Lewes, Sussex, 1804, died in Sydenham, London, 1867) Bequeathed by Francis William Baxter Museum no. E.2944-1932
Credit line
Bequeathed by Francis William Baxter
Production
Untrimmed proof.
Subject depicted
Summary
Many of the advice books and magazines of the day bear testimony to the Victorians' increasing preoccupation with wedding conduct and etiquette. Dress was a subject of much discussion. The young lady in this image is wearing a cape, possibly a burnouse, which was a cashmere wrap which fastened at the neck and sometimes had a hood, or imitation hood, attached. Here the hood is trimmed with passementerie tassels which were a highly popular dress trimming in the mid 19th century. The lady is carrying a posy of flowers. It was traditional for bridesmaids to carry posies at this time and these were usually the gift of the bridegroom on the wedding morning, received when they were fresh. It is an interesting detail that the colour of the flowers match the colours of the cape and dress. Matching colour schemes in wedding dress and bouquets were popular in the nineteenth century. The bride probably wore white and this dress would have complemented it without standing out too much or overshadowing it.



The fact that this lady is painted alone may indicate she was a single bridesmaid but may also have been intended to pander to the popularity of images of solitary female figures. Victorian brides often had many bridesmaids but sometimes they only had one. She would have been a younger sister, relative or close friend of the bride. Here the way in which she turns to look at the viewer before leaving through the door on the left, adds an element of heightened anticipation



George Baxter is one of the few printmakers who have given their name to a printmaking technique. His patented process combined printing from etched or aquatinted metal plates with printing from wood-engraved blocks. The blocks were printed in oil colours, which gave the resulting prints a richness of colour that some of the earlier attempts at full colour printing lacked. The Baxter process was later overtaken by colour lithography as a method of printing in colour.
Bibliographic References
  • Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1932. London: HMSO, 1933
  • Lewis, C. T. Courtney. George Baxter (colour printer) his life and work: a manual for collectors. London: S. Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., 1908.cat. no. 260
Collection
Accession Number
E.2944-1932

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record createdJuly 3, 2006
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