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Investigating a particular garment in the painting "Elaine" by John Melhuish Strudwick


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I'm new here and I'm a bit of a mixed bag in regards to my hobbies and passions. I completed a level 4 in Prop Making and special effects, I'm about to take my level 5 in Theatre and Performance and I also studied theatre arts which lead me down many paths of costume, set design and much more. I'm also an art lover and that's the course I completed to get into university. 

I plan to make a YouTube channel based on creating and researching. This could be garments, props and I may dabble in a bit of background designing. 

For my first project I wanted to start with something that means something to me. The artist John Melhuish Strudwick appears in a Sotheby's catalogue book I have acquired from my old college. They were literally giving away dozens of them and me and my friends picked the ones we liked the most and shared them along with other beautiful books on art and design. 

The one I have here right now as I write to you all is:

Sotheby's Victorian and Edwardian Art, London, 14 December 2006 and can be referred to as L06132 "ELAINE". 

On page 38 there is an unbelievable painting by Strudwick that has a fascinating and tragic tale of Elaine of Astolat. I won't go into it all but in short, this lady falls in love with Sir Lancelot and cannot cope with the rejection of her true love. The Victorians used this tale as a warning so as not to persue an unwise love over family because in Elaines case, it ended her life. I highly recommend this deep yet obsessive tale and next comes my reasoning for replicating the painting. 

The painting is stunning in my eyes, it reminds me a lot of the artwork my late father would have in his little flat and also reminds me of a movie I watched when I was a girl. The most striking thing to me actually is the garment she wears. This is what I plan on replicating or doing my own interpretation of. I think this is going to be a great addition to my portfolio for my uni degree and showcases my love of art. There's just a problem...

I'm not too bad at sewing and would love a challenge. However I'm really struggling with the origin of the style of garment painted. I know that the artist is known for merging both medieval and Edwardian styles. And I have been looking in my fashion history book "Fashion Details-A historical Sourcebook" and have looked online on the Dress Historian Association and many more sources online that I can't trust to be credible enough. To my avail I cannot seem to understand the era of which the garment she's wearing is from. 

Here you can find the online format of what I have infront of me and the story behind the piece. (the story I find is beautiful, with obsession and hurt, it makes for good reading) 

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2006/victorian-edwardian-art-l06132/lot.118.html

It seems to me that the artist likes to paint this sort of style sleeve especially in the way it billows over a tighter form on the forearm. 

I am trying to place it somewhere but I have realised that I am no dress Historian. No matter where I look in either medieval fashion through the ages, edwardian and where ever else the Internet and my books take me as I keep typing in similar keywords. I'm quite stuck on this one. They're not bishop sleeves. They're not baloon sleeves right? I am not afraid to say I actually think I'm just not sure where to look. I think I've read every page now I'm my Fashion details book and cannot find out what this might be.

Should I be even using the sleeves to try to identify the era? I'm also not sure about what is over her shoulders and her waist.

Also there is another one of his paintings called "summer songs" where I believe another lady is wearing something extremely similar, same sleeves, same belt around her waist and the shoulder seams look a bit thicker. I could hazard a few guesses but given the fact I've had no luck with the sleeves I'm afraid I'd be embarrassed to get it wrong. 

I have researched garments before, but like I said.. I'm no Historian. But Its something I would love to get into. This time though it calls for a bit of help! 

And after I researched  some more... I thought.. Surely these aren't Gibson Girl sleeves? I know that the artist was around til 16 July 1937. The Gibson girl ideal was around late 1800s no? I'm struggling to put that kind of style with the artists medieval look in his paintings

I'm super stuck here! I'm going to carry on though and see if I can figure this out. Hopefully you lovely people could give your insight on it and maybe you even know already and because I'm an amateur at this the answer could be right in front of me. 

Here are some other pictures of sleeves like the one in the first pic by the same artist:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mutualart.com/Amp/Artwork/SUMMER-SONGS/60FECB82F5DC1E8B 

Especially look at Summer Songs and you will find the large belt on the lady behind the organ and the same sleeves. 

Also if you knew of any other forums for things like this that people may use as support for their findings and such, I'd love to have a resource like that were other people give thier thoughts.

 

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