C1818

Progress of the Toilet.- 1. The Stays. 2. The Wig. 3. Dress Completed.

Artist:

William McCleary

Progress of the Toilet is a set of three images published by James Gillray in 1810 which pours ridicule on the fashions of the period dictating how the shapes of women should be accentuated to imitate artistic depictions of femininity. Rare … Read Full Description

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S/N: SATI-087-MCLE-SET-3–200825
(C120)
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Details

Full Title:

Progress of the Toilet.- 1. The Stays. 2. The Wig. 3. Dress Completed.

Date:

C1818

Artist:

William McCleary

Condition:

In good condition

Technique:

Copper engraving with original hand colouring.

Image Size: 

220mm 
x 275mm
AUTHENTICITY
Progress of the Toilet.- 1. The Stays.  2. The Wig.  3. Dress Completed. - Antique Print from 1818

Genuine antique
dated:

1818

Description:

Progress of the Toilet is a set of three images published by James Gillray in 1810 which pours ridicule on the fashions of the period dictating how the shapes of women should be accentuated to imitate artistic depictions of femininity. Rare Irish issue by McCleary of Dublin.

The Stays: It was common practice for a woman to insert a wooden busk into her corset to keep her stomach flat and maintain a good posture. The downsides to this instrument were that in a tight fitting corset it could be very uncomfortable and it made it impossible for the wearer to bend over. Notice the alarmed face of the dog as he watches his owner in the mirror.

The Wig: The woman sits reading ‘Delphine’, a book by French author Germaine de Staël which scrutinized the restrictions of women in upper class society. Nevertheless, she also sits surrounded by all the accoutrements popular with aristocratic French ladies from ‘Espirit de Lavande’ to ‘Huile Antique’. In a culture where anything French was considered fashionable, perhaps she is reading the book more because of its origin rather than its contents.

Dress Completed: The woman’s wig is in the hairstyle was known as the victime la coiffure; a tousled short style that was modelled on the guillotined heads of the French aristocracy in the Revolution. This was a popular, but contentious style for reasons of nationalism and decency. Gillray’s caricature may show the woman’s ‘Dress Completed’, but the implication of the caricature may be that her head still remains undone.

The practice of dandyism first appeared in the revolutionary 1790s, both in London and in Paris. Charles Baudelaire defined the dandy: “Contrary to what a lot of thoughtless people seem to believe, dandyism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance. For the perfect dandy, these things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of his mind.”

Biography:

William McCleary

McCleary began trading from premises located at 31 Lower Ormond Quay in 1791 and by 1798 his business had become sufficiently successful to allow him to move to a larger shop located on Nassau Street. The street, which overlooked College Green, was one of Dublin’s most fashionable shopping areas and home to several shops selling luxury goods such as jewellery, fine clothing and confectionary.  

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