Throwing off Her Weeds

Oil Painting
1846 (painted)
Throwing off Her Weeds thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A young widow is impatient to discard her black mourning clothes (known as widow's weeds) because she has plans to marry again. The seamstress is showing her a lilac-coloured dress, a colour considered appropriate for a woman in the last phase of mourning. At this time, the mourning period for a husband was expected to be at least two years.

Originally the picture included a figure of a soldier, the widow's new suitor, entering through the doorway. Critics thought this was vulgar, and Redgrave painted the figure out, but he kept a number of other visual clues to suggest that the woman is soon to be married again: there is a bridal bonnet in the hat-box in the foreground, and a sprig of orange blossom (a flower which was usually worn or carried at weddings) on the dressing table.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on panel
Brief Description
Oil painting by Richard Redgrave entitled 'Throwing off her Weeds'. Great Britain, 1846.
Physical Description
Oil painting
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 76.2cm
  • Estimate width: 62.3cm
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
'Richd Redgrave 1846' (Signed and dated by the artist on hat box, lower right)
Credit line
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Object history
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Subjects depicted
Summary
A young widow is impatient to discard her black mourning clothes (known as widow's weeds) because she has plans to marry again. The seamstress is showing her a lilac-coloured dress, a colour considered appropriate for a woman in the last phase of mourning. At this time, the mourning period for a husband was expected to be at least two years.



Originally the picture included a figure of a soldier, the widow's new suitor, entering through the doorway. Critics thought this was vulgar, and Redgrave painted the figure out, but he kept a number of other visual clues to suggest that the woman is soon to be married again: there is a bridal bonnet in the hat-box in the foreground, and a sprig of orange blossom (a flower which was usually worn or carried at weddings) on the dressing table.
Bibliographic Reference
Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 241-43
Collection
Accession Number
FA.170[O]

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMay 8, 2003
Record URL