Monday, April 21, 2014

Pretty Pictures

I recently visited distant cousins in the U.K. and was so charmed by some watercolor paintings, I had to photograph them. They were painted by my cousin's grandmother Frances Barclay Womersley, who was my grandmother's sister. No doubt she worked from contemporary fashion prints. Since this era of fashion is one of my favorites, I searched out some similar images. Frances was born in 1884 and married in 1904. She would have been 28-30 years old, a young mother, when she painted these pictures. Her daughter and grand daughter would also become painters.

The shine on the satin and the detail on the lace are so pretty!

A print day dress I'd love to wear!
Here are some prints I found online from the Haas Brothers catalog of 1913. Haas Brothers, like other exclusive stores, offered reproductions of gowns from the leading fashion houses of Europe. Those were the days when you went to the store and sat on a gilded chair, sipping wine or tea, while beautiful models in the latest outfits paraded past you. The ones you chose were made up for you -- no off-the-rack here!   

I was especially struck by the Martial et Armand designs, which seemed so similar to the first painting. This color print from 1911 has that ornate quality. 

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