Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yay or Nay? Maria Francisca Bendita

Something odd happened last week with David Garrick's Yay or Nay. Viewers became critical of the actual painting and not Garrick's outfit, so I have no idea what the outcome could accurately be! So in this rare case I will say Gainsborough received a Nay on his portrayal but the ensemble received a Yay. That's fair enough, isn't it? So let's avoid pear-shapes this week and return to a shape we are more familiar and comfortable with; gotta love those panniers!


The Princess of Brazil (1773) wears a wide pannier-ed, midnight blue gown with decadent gold embroidery. Yay or Nay?

[Hermitage Museum]

25 comments:

  1. Hmmm...It took me a moment, but I love this dress. It has both a stately elegance to it, and a playfully witty appeal. There is something old fashioned about the whole look (old fashioned to the 18th century, not just to modern eyes!) as if Maria was trying to invoke Queen Elizabeth I, or even early Renaissance paintings of the Virgin Mary with her patterned blue and gold.

    And the pleating in the skirt and the sabot sleeves are just divine.

    So definitely yay!

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  2. I went from 'I don't hate it' as a first impression to 'Why don't I like it more?' ultimately. I think overall a 'nay'. The textile is stunning and the outfit is more subtle on inspection than the first glimpse of the embroidery would have you believe. Still, the skirt is extremely stiff, having the look of a gown meant to show off the fabric not the wearer, and there is something weak about the neckline that puts me off.

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  3. My first thought is of the workmanship that went into the dress and how nice it would look as a couch or drapes. But I love the navy blue so I would have to give it a big Yay.

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  4. Love/Hate here. The style of the dress is striking, she carries it off beautifully, but the material itself, though I love the color and the embroidery, my first thought was 'why is she wearing a rug?', so, since you don't have a 'maybe', I think I have to give this a yay with reservations.

    I think if the material was a more flowing texture, it would be lovely.

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  5. I agree with those who have said "why don't I love it more?" I'm going to give it a yay. I do like the dress, but the overall stiffness and lack of character are somewhat disappointing. I suppose one must expect a certain level of stiffness in a court gown.

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  6. That embroidery looks so think that I imagine the fabric was as stiff as cardboard. But it is elegant and understated in the colors. Yay

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  7. I would have to give it a Nay. I agree with The Deamstress. It looks a little old fashioned for the time, maybe it was a dress inspired by the 17th Century, but its so stiff and the colors are so dark.

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  8. I like the cut of the dress, but the material is so heavy and ornate it looks to me like she is wearing upholstery. Nay.

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  9. Urgh, Nay. It looks like she's wearing curtains.

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  10. Yay I would have to say, it is a fine example of royal court gowns, yes it maybe a bit over the top but where not most of them a bit over the top and utterly extravagant, ahhhh I love the extravagant! This gown is a fine example. looks to be a fine stiff silk of dark blue and wonderful gold embroidery and fine lace most likely from Spain as they have always been superb lace makers with wonderful pearls draped and pined to the dress, so I have to say a big yay, granted this dress would not be comfy to wear but ah well the price of beauty and fashion.

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  11. I have to say "nay". The embroidery and the sleeves are very pretty, but there is just something about this dress... I dont like that gloomy feeling it gives me.
    The fabric looks too stiff and heavy, and the neckline is too low. It reminds me of the 16th or 17th century (wich is not a good thing, fashion-wise).


    Oh, by the way, a bit "off topic": The last couple of days I have found myself pondering about the dental hygiene (or rather the lack of it?) in the 18th century (yes, we history nerds tend to be a bit odd, do we not?): I would just die to know how those elegant lady portraits would have looked like if its lovely models were pictured SMILING? Did they have any theeth at all? How many did they usually lose, and at what age? Did they clean them in some way? Surely, all that sugar and tea must have done some terrible things with their teeths, no? o:

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  12. Definitley 'yay', that dress is gorgeous!

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  13. @Anon, I will look into it for you. Thank you for the suggestion!

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  14. Oh dear. How colonial... NAY NAY AND NAY

    But then again I am Portuguese... so I should not be allowed to vote this time...

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  15. I agree with Dreamstress in that it took me a minute to fully appreciate this dress, but I have to give it a YAY!

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  16. yay!!! it looks a bit heavy, but magnificent at the same time. The dress has a very vintage classic look to it, which i just adore.

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  17. Yay from me but not a hot summer day. That dress looks like it was very heavy.

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  18. Very typical of the Iberians. A friend of mine says "Spain...where fashion goes to die" since they are quite apt to wear things that no one else has worn for a century. I know Brazil was Portugal's, but I'm giving them guilt by proximity because they are enveloped by Spain.

    If she had been painted, say, 50 years earlier, it would be a "yay." I'll give her a "yay" for the regal colors in her dress and the panniers that display the fabric, but a "nay" for being behind the times and having boring hair.

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  19. I'll call this "The Rollercoaster Dress", I think, 'cause like many others I went 'No way...' at first but now it's growing on me! Such is the way of the world I guess!

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