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Fashion drawing

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1903-05 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Guy, Lucien (artist)

  • Museum number:

    E.2265-1948

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 92

The wealthy, fashionable woman of the 19th and early 20th century had a special costume for every occasion. White outfits were typically worn in the summer, although they required a lot of maintenance as they tended to pick up dirt and show stains and marks. Whilst it was relatively straightforward to wash a cotton dress, a pure white tailored costume such as this would have required great effort on the part of a ladies' maid to keep it in pristine condition. Although it is described as a boating costume, this glamorous lady would probably have been an elegant passenger rather than an active participant.

In his classic comic novel, Three Men In A Boat (1889), Jerone K. Jerome commented on the practicality of boating costumes, particularly those portrayed in fashion plates:

'Girls, also, don't look half bad in a boat, if prettily dressed. Nothing is more fetching, to my thinking, than a tasteful boating costume. But a "boating costume," it would be as well if all ladies would understand, ought to be a costume that can be worn in a boat, and not merely under a glass-case. It utterly spoils an excursion if you have folk in the boat who are thinking all the time a good deal more of their dress than of the trip. It was my misfortune once to go for a water picnic with two ladies of this kind. We did have a lively time!

They were both beautifully got up - all lace and silky stuff, and flowers, and ribbons, and dainty shoes, and light gloves. But they were dressed for a photographic studio, not for a river picnic. They were the "boating costumes" of a French fashion-plate. It was ridiculous, fooling about in them anywhere near real earth, air, and water.'

The artist, Lucien Guy was a French illustrator and caricaturist active in the early 20th century, who appears to have specialised in portraying elegant, fashionable women of the period.

Physical description

Fashion drawing of a woman in boating costume. The woman is standing on a flight of steps in a white coat and skirt, holding her skirt up with one hand and holding to a tree with the other hand. She wears a large white hat with a wreath of roses tied on with a scarf.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

1903-05 (made)

Artist/maker

Guy, Lucien (artist)

Object history note

Fashion note:

The wealthy, fashionable woman of the 19th and early 20th century had a special costume for every occasion. White outfits were typically worn in the summer, although by their nature, they required a lot of maintenance as they tended to pick up dirt and show stains and marks. Whilst it was relatively straightforward to wash a cotton dress, a pure white tailored costume such as this would have required great effort on the part of a maid to keep it in pristine condition. Although described as a boating costume, the wearer would probably not have participated in the actual boating, but have been an elegant passenger or spectator.

In Three Men In A Boat (1889), Jerone K. Jerome commented on the practicality of boating costumes, particularly those portrayed in fashion plates:

'Girls, also, don't look half bad in a boat, if prettily dressed. Nothing is more fetching, to my thinking, than a tasteful boating costume. But a "boating costume," it would be as well if all ladies would understand, ought to be a costume that can be worn in a boat, and not merely under a glass-case. It utterly spoils an excursion if you have folk in the boat who are thinking all the time a good deal more of their dress than of the trip. It was my misfortune once to go for a water picnic with two ladies of this kind. We did have a lively time!

They were both beautifully got up - all lace and silky stuff, and flowers, and ribbons, and dainty shoes, and light gloves. But they were dressed for a photographic studio, not for a river picnic. They were the "boating costumes" of a French fashion-plate. It was ridiculous, fooling about in them anywhere near real earth, air, and water.'

- Daniel Milford-Cottam, January 2012.

Descriptive line

Lucien Guy, Boating dress. Fashion design for female costume. French c.1904
French School

Materials

Coloured pencil

Techniques

Drawing

Categories

Fashion; Women's clothes; Illustration; Hair and hairstyles; Hats & headwear; Day wear; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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