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Picture of the Month


Cérémonie du Sacrement de Mariage
Crepy le Fils (Editor)

Detail images: The bride & groom, two women, woman on the left, kneeling man

This engraving came to me without any information as to its context and period. I estimate it to be from the 1710s, very probably the latter half of the decade. And why is that?

The men's coats are straight-fronted and buttoned over the stomach, with the pockets sitting low on the hips. The sleeves are relatively short - they don't reach the wrists - and narrow and the cuffs are huge. All these features are typical of the very late 17th and very early 18th century.

The women's dress allows a somewhat better estimate. The backs of the dresses are fitted, so they are either mantuas or robes à l'Anglaise. Since Anglaises weren't worn in France until towards the end of the century, they must be mantuas. Moreover, the skirts are draped back and gathered up at the small of the back, which had been typical for mantuas since the 1680s. The bride's sleeve, widening towards the elbow and ending in a soft, shapeless cuff. The woman that leans forward wears a belt around the waist. Both features are also typical of the mantua. However, these are not early mantuas, since those would go with a fontange, which went out of fashion during the 1710s. The ladies here have quite plain hairstyles and caps. The black veils covering the caps are often seen in artwork dated to around 1710-20. Judging from the shape of the bride's skirt, there may be a panier of the early, conical shape underneath. If so, it would shift the date more to the latter than the first half of the 1710s.


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