Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Pleasing Circumference

This Carington Bowles c 1784 print shows the amorous Stay-maker making a house call, which he appears to be enjoying quite a bit! He is down on one knee taking the customer's waist measure with a tape of some sort, the tape has no increment markings. The tape hangs like a linen tape, but could as easily be the more commonly used paper tape, as would a tailor. There are two pair of stays in the picture, a pair on the floor (whitish in color), wrapped in a patterned handkerchief or scrap of fabric and a pair on a side table. The pair on the table has a different color to the front panels (pink), and has the appearance of being worn, as they are holding their shape when removed from the wearer, the assumption is these are her old pair, baleen boning over time will mold to the body and when the stays are removed they retain the roundness of the body.

Courtesy of the British Museum

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