Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yay or Nay? Mary Wilkes

This group surprises me! I thought you would condemn the wild masquerade dress of Franz Isaak von Chasot but I forget that most of you are the untamed sort who would be found at the masquerade with Monsieur von Chasot. Let's turn our attention toward some daywear.

Ignore Mr. Wilkes, he doesn't concern us. Johan Zoffany paints Miss Wilkes (1782) in her pink and green polonaise gown. Yay or Nay?

[National Portrait Gallery]

34 comments:

Ninon said...

Absolutely Yay! Gorgeous.

Victorine said...

YAY! YAY! YAY! I love Mrs Wilkes' beautiful polonaise gown :X:X:X

mieronna said...

A reluctant yay? I love the basic ensemble, but Miss Wilkes needs to work a bit on the accessories. The gown and the petticoat are gorgeous and complement each other very well, I particularly like the petticoat with its quilting and lighter hem.
On the other I find the apron is too busy and distracts too much from the lovely petticoat; the - is it a fichu or some kind of trimming? - at the neck has a completely unappealing, dirty colour and the dark grey-blue of the hair is just too harsh for the lovely pink. The bow at the chest could have been just slightly smaller.

Camille said...

I totally agree with mieronna : the apron is way too much. The gown and the petticoat were enough : simpler, but classy. I give it a yay, but it could look better.

We don't care abour Mr Wilkes, but he does look smart !

Anonymous said...

Yay, and like the dog, too.

ZACL said...

The hair and wig additions are awful, coloured to match the gun metal shade of the cloth of the dress. Thank the Lord there was some pink, and the red from his Lordship's attire.

What was the artist, or possibly artistes thinking of. Sobriety, it's almost funereal!

dgiguere said...

I would say Nay I am not a big fan of the color combination. But the dress is beautiful

Abby said...

The problem with this outfit is she cannot wear it. The clothes are wearing her and so she looks simply out of sorts, awkward, over the top, and silly. The color combo is good. I love the quilted petticoat and the gown is beautiful. The bows overwhelm her and her hair is well done (from a technical standpoint, I agree on the color, it's too harsh), but again, it overwhelms her. She looks unsure of herself in the outfit. Almost as if she is not used to getting so dressed up. Kind of like stuffing an awkward high schooler in a huge prom dress....or a cat in a halloween costume...the costume or gown can be cute or pretty, but if the wearer is uncomfortable or unable to wear it, then it just looks bad.

She is a walking example of what is fashionable during the year she was painted, but she simply cannot wear the gown. If it was someone else, who had better taste and was more sure of themselves, I would give it a yay. But because she cannot accessorize or wear the gown. It has to be a nay. Sadly.

Cherylynn said...

I would love to ignore Mr. Wilkes but I can't. He and Mrs. Wilkes should have consulted each other as to what they were going to wear before their first sitting. They clash glaringly and the boldness of his colours make hers cross the line from pretty and feminine to fussy and frivolous. On her own, with that backdrop however, I would give a Big Yay. Actually, even with the two of them I would give it a Yay, but only because he is holding her hand and gazing at her adoringly.

DC said...

I can't say I like the colour combo from this flouncy frock!IT's not flowing, it's pretty but the colours make it look gawdy. Mary Wilkes also looks a bit stiff compared to Mr. Wilkes who looks relaxed. A Nay from me, i'm afraid.

Vic said...

Oh, sorry, no. Too too much. The outfit is too young for this lady - too much frou frou, tucks, and furbelows. The wig is atrocious. I do like her man and dog, though.

Paul Miller said...

Nay AND bluck! That outfit is so awful it makes me think of the gowns the wicked stepsisters wore in Disney's Cinderella. I DO love the setting, though, which looks balmy and delicious.

Sunny @ the Library said...

Nay and nay again!

Too much. Too many. Just all too... too.

I don't like the colors. It's giving me the weird impression that she's Frankensteined two different gowns together.

Jessi P (AKA Emily Ryder) said...

Nay, nay, NAY! Like the green but the combo pink is awful (I think your typo 'pint' is very apt Heather - she had a little too much ale before she chose the outfit perhaps?!)

nightsmusic said...

NAY!

Just...nay.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Dreamstress said...

Oh Nay! There is just too, too much going on, and none of it is particularly attractive! I'm exhausted just looking at all the clashing colours (and that is only on Mrs Wilkes, not to mention her with her husband) and overabundance of unrelated trims, and general fussiness on a lady who looks much more suited to refined simplicity.

I think the dog agrees with me. He looks exhausted too.

cmybliss said...

Pink and green always get a big yay from me! Love the dress itself. Not so much the accessories or the wearer. The apron is particularly ugly in my opinion, and the bows and hair........ it's been said, so you won't hear it shun from me.
To sum up-and-down yay to the dress itself, nay to everything else.
*back to lurking now*

Kristin said...

I'm a yay! Love, love, love the long opera gloves.

Duchess of the Feneeqk said...

Yay, yet she looks somewhat awkward wearing it.
The dress is lovely, yet I'm not entirely fond of the hair.

gentlewomanthief said...

I want to say yay, but I fear it must be nay. The bodice and the skirt of the gown are both lovely (yes, I love that bow as it is) though the sleeves are a bit meh.

I love 18th c contastring colour combos and the pink is very pretty, but in this case I'd've made the green a little softer.

The hair. What is going on with the hair? I'm all for big hair; I love 18th century styles, but in this case it's just a big bad hair don't.

And she has ugly gloves.

NAY!

Victoria said...

I'm gonna say "Nay." I love the polonaise part of the dress, but I'm not too crazy about the color combination.

Molly M. said...

I'm not a fan of pink, but I do like the style of the dress so I'm going to vote for Yay! Very pretty ensemble.

Marquis Jacques said...

The first thing that came to my mind was how all awful the two colors in her dress clash. Their so loud! And she looks to old for such bright colors. Her husband, on the other hand looks dashing.

Comtesse Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne said...

I'm a little late to the party, but I'll comment anyhow. I give it a Nay; it's just too much, too many different fabrics and trims and the two colors do not seem to go well together. I think a little bit of either color on the other part would make a great deal of difference.

patricia_3_3 said...

Though I would commend her for wearing such thing I would have to say NAY! because there's too many thing happening already

Katya said...

Yay for dress, Nay for hair. it might be fashionable and on the dit but that styly makes her look like a poodle.

Emily said...

She is certainly a fearsome thing to behold. That is hideous. Nay.

On the other hand, I think her husband looks charming. Yay for him.

Anonymous said...

I have to say Nay.
However much i love the gown the green underneath the pink is just a turn off...
Everything else is completely amazing(:

Belle-Etoile said...

Well, first off, I must say even though I'm supposed to be ignoring him, Mr. Wilkes looks very smart.

But on to Mrs. Wilkes! While I think parts of her outfit are really gorgeous, I must give her a Nay.

I really like both the green underskirt and the pink overskirt and bodice. However, even with the cute pink bows to link them together, I think they clash. I would love to see them separated and evolved into two individual dresses.

I think the addition of her apron was too much, and rather distracting, and once again, the green glove looks odd against her sleeves. And I agree with Cherylynn, that the Wilkes should have a thought a bit longer about the effect their outfits would have together, it would have benefitted them individually and the portrait as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Nay from me, I'm afraid, the petticoat looks like a modern-day quilted bedcover with frilly sheet showing underneath and the hair is absolutely atrocious, poor gel looks like she spent half the morning having it done and is now petrified to move in case it all comes tumbling down ...

heidenkind said...

Ew, nay. She looks like she's trying way too hard.

seamstrix said...

Actually the girl is his daughter not his wife. the portrai hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London where I have seen it in person.

"Mary Wilkes (or Polly as she was known), was Wilkes's only child by his estranged wife, Mary Meade. He was deeply attached to his daughter, who never married but inherited her mother's substantial fortune."

As for the dress, it's pretty but I think the dark green of the underskirt is too harsh with the pink of the gown. A lighter shade of green might have been better.

Heather Carroll said...

Thank you for the correction!