Found this website with an awesome collection of different fashion dolls on it.
I don’t know if anybody else has noticed that little boys before the first world war always wore little frilly dresses, just like the ones their sisters were wearing. I collected loads of photo’s of the Russian royal family from the internet after reading about them and bought several books (The Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs and Queen Victoria’s Family, both by Charlotte Zeepvat) which had loads of photos like this.
After researching these little boys fashions i found that before the first world war its has always been like this.
The above are picture of boys, the little boy in the pink dress is American and would have continued to wear dresses until he was breeched, which i guess has something to do with boys in earlier times wearing breeches when they were considered a child and not a toddler anymore. Also in this photo, the young boy’s bodice has no point going down as a young girls would (which would have been following the line of the corset underneath) which is something that would have made the two sexes distinguishable.
You can also see this here with the three eldest children of the Prince of Wales, the two children sitting are the future George III and his brother Edward. Edward is wearing a similar dress to the boy above while George’s dress is very similar to his sister’s Augusta’s, yet they are distinguishable by the cut in George’s Bodice which the pointed edge is atached to his apron, while his sisters bodice has a pointed edge with no cut.
Later on the fashions became more blurred, with practicality taking precedence over rules and symbols as children were becoming more playful and free in there portraits. Above is two boys playing with each other and animals, unrestricted by lace and stiff bodices. While young girls were portrayed in similar scenes and demonstrating that fashion had inevitably moved on, they still had the stiff pointed bodices over their restricting corsets, perhaps predicting the strict fashion code and social codes they would have to follow later in their lives.
I have discovered, gratefully from The Costume Society of America, that The National Trust, here in England has put their entire collection online. I use to work at a national trust property called Trerice, i absolutely loved it there and made a little shriek when i heard this news because i had a few favorite items among their collection and when i volunteered there you couldn’t take photo’s in the house. I though i would share some with you all, their collection is here.
I remember this painting being put back, if you look carefully to the left you can see the wood that it was painted on is curved, they made a special box frame so the wood could bend back in its own time. The restorers also didn’t do a very good job (or perhaps it wasn’t them ?!?!) because on the lady’s right, her shoulder has been painted away and it’s shorter than her left, its not very visible here, you need to see it up close. Originally they had believed (or hoped) that this was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, but it turned out to rich, English country lady.
I was also there when this painting came back, it had been living somewhere else in the country and was dirty, after restoration when it came back it was quite important to Trerice because this boy grew up to be the last Baron (i think) to live at Trerice, he died unmarried and quite young and i believe the house past through cousins. I believe this is the only portrait of one of the Arundell’s that Trerice had that lived at the house (again i may well be wrong, i stopped volunteering about 2010, i think).
This portrait of Charles I always use to give me the creeps.
They have several John Opie portraits there, which is lovely as he is a famous Cornish artist.
One day, when i was in this room (the great chamber) i was sat on the window sill watching the visitors and a child ran and jumped on this beautiful 17th century sofa, i think a part of me died inside and my mortification must have been very obvious as the child’s father quickly grabbed him and left.
Beautiful pieces of stumpwork from around the mid 1600’s.