Hello and welcome to my last edition of Style Imitating Art for 2022. This work was originally planned for February. With President’s Day happening then, I wanted, as last year, to present an 18th-century American theme. However, the colors were so similar to “Decline of the Day”, which Salazar curated just before my turn. In the end, I decided to put Abigail further down the year and advance my next choice. So you are finally meeting her today.
Style Imitating Art?
Style Imitating Art is hosted by Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey, Shelbee of Shelbee On the Edge, and me. Style Imitating Art challenges us to draw style inspiration from pieces of art. Every other Monday one of us selects an inspirational image and we each post the image on our blogs. The following Monday we share our art-inspired outfits. The following Wednesday, the curator shares all of the submissions on her blog.
What and Why Did I Pick This Work of Art?
This month I went with an 18th-century portrait of a young lady by the name of Abigale Rose which is by an anonymous painter. I have always had an interest in early American Art. At that time, America had no art schools and artists were pretty much self-taught. Of course, there were a few exceptions, like John Copely who painted the famous portrait of Paul Revere (my last year’s selection). But he left for Britain pre-revolution and never returned.
Portrait of Abigail Rose, North Branford, Connecticut, 1786, at the Age of Fourteen
This, like a lot of portraits from this time in America, is unsigned. It is obviously the work of an unschooled artist. By the late 17th century there were a handful of painters known by name. But, I think the tradition of the traveling “Limners” and “Patroon” artists of the early 17th century was still prevalent. These artists still found a livelihood by traveling around the country and drumming up business. I wonder if they charged by the inch?
I mention this because in the latest Diane Galbadon book, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, a potential client asks Brianna if she charges by the inch in reference to a portrait he had commissioned her to paint of his wife. I couldn’t find anything about this but am sure Diana knows how to research far better than I do.
I have always found this part of American art fascinating because it was the beginning, the incubation, you could say, of the American creative experience (along with quilting and needlework, of course).
Details of Abagale Rose
I find Abigale Rose enchanting and here are some details to show why I feel this way.
Around her neck, she wears a simple black ribbon. She also has a locket with what seems to be a soldier wearing a red coat. A red coat? That’s interesting as this portrait was painted three years after the Treaty of Paris.
She is also holding a red rose and this photo also shows a better view of her Fischou. A fischou was a shawl knitted in fine wool. It was worn over the head or around the neck, often knotted loosely, or pinned with a large broach. I think that a Fischou can also be considered a scarf. I assume it served two purposes; modesty and extra warmth. Plus, it was one of the trends.
A close-up of two details: the Battersea box. Limoges was founded in 1771 so I wonder if this could possibly be a Limoges? That we will never know. There is also a close-up of the music: Amity and Psalm.
Also, notice the lack of anatomical knowledge of the artist of her hand. Does she have bones?
Finally, I have a close-up of Abagail Rose’s sleeve. She wasn’t the most fashion-forward. According to my newest addition to my fashion/costume library, Lydia Edwards’ How to Read a Dress, full-length sleeves were becoming very popular around this time. But the older slim fit ending at the elbow (with a healthy bit of lace) was still being worn.
Taking Styling Cues from Abigail Rose
There are a few things that talk to me when I look at this painting. These would be in no particular order: earthy greens, dusty reds, small snippets of black, scarves, lace, flowers, music, lockets, and pendants.
How Can This Work Inspire Your Style?
Next Monday Salazar, Shelbee, and I will publish our interpretations of this work.
I hope Abegail Rose inspires you to create a look from your closet and that you will join us. Send me your picture of your SIA-inspired outfit along with a small blurb on how you were inspired to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, November 15th. I’ll share the submissions on my blog on Wednesday, November 16th.
Anyone can participate and you certainly do not have to have a blog.
If you do share your inspirations on Instagram use the hashtag #StyleImitatingArt so we know you are there. You can also tag us in the images. Our Instagram names are @terrigardner_meadowtree, @14shadesofgrey, and @shelbeeontheedge.
Hope to see you there!