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Print - The Bridesmaid
  • The Bridesmaid
    Baxter, George, born 1804 - died 1867
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The Bridesmaid

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    England (printed)

  • Date:

    1855 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Baxter, George, born 1804 - died 1867 (print-maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Baxter print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Francis William Baxter

  • Museum number:

    E.2944-1932

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 1

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.

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.

Place of Origin

England (printed)

Date

1855 (published)

Artist/maker

Baxter, George, born 1804 - died 1867 (print-maker)

Materials and Techniques

Baxter print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Lettered with title

Inscribed in red ink on mount

Dimensions

Height: 56.8 cm, Width: 46.5 cm

Descriptive line

Print by George Baxter, 'The Bridesmaid,' Baxter-process print, untrimmed proof, England, 1855

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1932. London: HMSO, 1933
cat. no. 260
Lewis, C. T. Courtney. George Baxter (colour printer) his life and work: a manual for collectors. London: S. Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., 1908.

Production Note

Untrimmed proof.

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Baxter-process printing

Subjects depicted

Weddings

Categories

Prints; Marriage; Portraits

Production Type

Proof

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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