Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Painting-Inspired Ladies Dresses from the Art of William Henry Margetson 1860-1940


Here are some paintings by William Henry Margetson, whose earliest paintings depicted a more Victorian style of ladies, and later paintings, the 1920-30's styles.

I noticed the hands: securing her hat from the wind, holding purse and shawl, carrying a basket, mending a hem, looking at shells, putting up the wash with clothespins, holding a hat, knitting, carrying an umbrella, picking flowers, and holding the door open.  In some of my classes for women I hace asked the question "What is in your hand?"  It is interesting to hear the answers and to analyze what is good and lovely. I am accustomed to being ridiculed for this, but there is nothing prettier than a little girl happily carrying a bunch of wildflowers to give to her mother. I want to keep striving for that innocence of the hands, where what I do is lovely: writing letters, using tea cups, washing dishes, sweeping, picking apples, hanging the wash, shaking someone's hand, an encouraging pat on the back, baking bread, and more.

Above: would it not be lovely to wear a pretty print that goes with a field of wild flowers, going for a little nature walk?

Below: perhaps this is autumn or a cool summer evening, when a shawl is drawn snugly closer while walking hme from a friend's tea.

These are inspirations for my sewing, as I also notice how the subject coorinates with the settings and seasons, in the paintings.  I like dressing that way at home, even if it is only a new apron that matches the mood of the weather or something I am doing in the house. While I do not wear the Victorian clothing and many of my dresses are 2016 patterns, the thing I like about these few Margetsons is the  countenance and the homey atmosphere they display. There is such happiness amd contentment there with the warmth of the sun, the sweetness of the gestures and the simple treasures of the house.

Above: those of us who have had lavender growing outside know why it brings a smile when it is gathered into a basket to give the house a fresh scent.

Below: many a woman has stoppd to take a few stitches in a hem.

Below: A natural pose that inspired an artist.
Below: Hanging out the wash is an up-close experience with nature. It is so nice to look over the line at the sky and the clouds and enjoy the clothing merrily dancing in the breeze.  There is no way a dryer could add that scent to the clothes.

Below:  Surely we have all done this: sat on the shore letting pur minds rest, while enjoying the beauty of the sea. This gives me ideas of a special dress for a trip to the beach. What about a sea themed cotton print with a sea-shell border?

Below, you can catch a glimpse of the dress I wore to the beach, which I made of a blue toile linen print. It went well with the colors that day. There were other people nearby and I cropped them out  for their privacy, and that is why you cannot see much of me. Well, that is one way to get thin :-) I will try to put the dress on the dress-form for a better picture.

Later I was able to get this view of the birds and the waves and capture some of the color I was trying to match the fabric to.

Would it be splendid to have your picture made in the doorway of such a pretty cottage, wearing something sweet and feminine? It is not the era of clothing that I try to imitate, but the attiude of prettiness. In any era of time, pretty, practical clothing for ladies can be had. Though they migt not be as long as the ones in these paintings, they can be modest and feminine.

Below: I am planning to make a coat similar to this and have some of the fabric.

Below: more of my beach dress.


ladypinktulip said...

I always love the paintings you post. I love the Regency style dress ..
the true empire waist. Most of my dresses are like that. I love the picture
of the ocean you posted too....seeing the waves come in and the birds. Certainly nature inspires our fabric choices and home decor! Kelly T.

Lynn Maust said...

How relaxing it is to view the paintings you select for your blog posts. I just so look forward to seeing them all...

Mrs. U said...

Seeing the ladies seeing in this post made me wonder if you've ever written very simple beginner sewing ideas? Do you have any videos about getting started sewing?

Thank you!


Alex said...

Beautiful blue seaside dress...I love toile!

Lydia said...

i woild reall enjoy doing a sewing video. I will think about doing some.

Marqueta (Mar-kee-ta) G. said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Thank you for all the artist posts you do; they are so inspiring and lovely! Your dress is sweet, as well. Blue and white is my favorite color combination.



Dawn said...

All those paintings are so lovely. My favorite is the one with the lavender. Her cheeks are so rosy and her smile is so sweet. And I would love a lacy slip like the one where the lady is hemming her dress. Maybe I will buy lace and ribbon and sew it onto my plain slip.

The toile fabric of your dress is very pretty. I would enjoy seeing the whole dress sometime.


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