Please complete the form to email this item.

Watercolour - An elegant establishment for young ladies
  • An elegant establishment for young ladies
    Edward Francis Burney, born 1760 - died 1848
  • Enlarge image

An elegant establishment for young ladies

  • Object:

    Watercolour

  • Place of origin:

    England, Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1805 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Edward Francis Burney, born 1760 - died 1848 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Thomas Agnew and Sons

  • Museum number:

    P.50-1930

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 10, box R

  • Download image

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.

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). The picture only slightly exaggerates the barbarous physical constrictions and distortions imposed on girls and women in the name of fashion and femininity. The tendency to fainting, general weakness and frailty so marked in girls in the 19th century was largely the result of constrictive clothing. There are documented cases of girls dying, or at least disabled, by having their internal organs crushed by too-tight corsets.

Place of Origin

England, Britain (painted)

Date

ca. 1805 (painted)

Artist/maker

Edward Francis Burney, born 1760 - died 1848 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 77.3 cm framed, Width: 105.2 cm framed

Descriptive line

Watercolour by Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) entitled 'An Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies'. Great Britain, ca. 1805.

Exhibition History

Water into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A 1750-1950 (Shenhzen Museum, China 9 August 2012-11 November 2012)

Materials

Watercolour

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Clothing; Satire; Interiors; Education; Gender; Feminine; Subject

Categories

Drawings; Caricatures & Cartoons; Paintings

Collection code

PDP

Download image
Qr_O15007
Ajax-loader