An elegant establishment for young ladies thumbnail 1
An elegant establishment for young ladies thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS , Case R, Shelf 10, Box R

An elegant establishment for young ladies

Watercolour
ca. 1805 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This famous caricature mocks women’s education that consists only of lessons in deportment and dress, music and dance. Such an education is shown to be both superficial and self-indulgent. The artist implies that these were the only accomplishments thought necessary for a ‘career’ of marriage and motherhood. Indeed, one girl is seen in the act of eloping with her suitor through the window. She is the finished product of this kind of schooling.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour
Brief Description
Watercolour by Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) entitled 'An Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies'. Great Britain, ca. 1805.
Physical Description
Burney's busy caricature shows women's education reduced to lessons in deportment and dress, music and dance, an education that is superficial and self-indulgent. He implies that these were all the accomplishments thought necessary for a 'career' of marriage and motherhood. Indeed one girl, the finished product of such schooling, is seen through the window in the act of eloping with her suitor (though as we know from the case of the impetuous Lydia in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice', elopement did not necessarily result in marriage).
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 77.3cm
  • Framed width: 105.2cm
Style
Credit line
Given by Messrs Thomas Agnew and Sons
Subjects depicted
Summary
This famous caricature mocks women’s education that consists only of lessons in deportment and dress, music and dance. Such an education is shown to be both superficial and self-indulgent. The artist implies that these were the only accomplishments thought necessary for a ‘career’ of marriage and motherhood. Indeed, one girl is seen in the act of eloping with her suitor through the window. She is the finished product of this kind of schooling.
Bibliographic Reference
Coombs, Katherine British watercolours : 1750-1950 . London: V&A Publications, 2012p.88, pl.77
Collection
Accession Number
P.50-1930

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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