Well, I am certainly off on a tangent tonight. But since I posted the picture of a little boy in a curls and bows there has been some ongoing discussion on this blog of young boys costume in the 19th century. I can't imagine the use of this information other than a clearer picture of costuming in historical portraits of young boys. Above is a 17th century painting showing a typical enough costume for a young man of the aristocratic classes. He is wearing a dress. That was the common outfit at the time, particularly for young boys still undergoing the rigors of toilet training. When that ended, the child began to be dressed in pants. That was called" breeching" and it was a rite of passage, it represented the point at which the father would take a more active role in the raising of a male child.
Here is a little boy from the 19th century done up in curls and a sailor suit. Boys of the era were given no choice in their wardrobe and their mothers dressed them up as little fops. How they must have doted on these little guys! Below is a portrait by the great 19th century portrait painter to royalty, Winterhalter. In 1846 Prince Albert of Wales was dressed in a miniature version of the suit worn by the sailors on the royal yacht. This created a sensation and the sailor suit for young boys became the fashion. Below is Winterhalters portrait of young Albert in the sailor suit. Engravings in the popular press popularized the idea in the 1870's.
An alert reader pointed out to me that Renoir had painted a picture of "Madame Charpentier and Her Children. One of those two children is a boy, I don't know which, but they are both done up in little dresses and curls.
Sargent painted several more little boys in girlish costumes below is Mrs. Edward L. Davis and her son Livingston.
And below is Caspar Goodrich also by John Sargent..
I have a few spaces left in the three day workshop to be held in Charleston, South Carolina. It will be fun to meet those of you who read this blog from the low country. As usual the workshop is open to all levels of experience and will run from Saturday, December 11 until Monday the 13th. I will teach outside and will demonstrate in the morning and then run from easel to easel teaching for the afternoon. I can save you years of screwing around learning to paint outside.
Here is the link to sign up. Class size is limited to 10 and given the short notice on this one might be very small indeed. People are starting to sign up, so reserve your spot.