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The Rose Coloured Gown (Miss Giles)

Charles H. M. Kerr1896

City of London Corporation

City of London Corporation
London, United Kingdom

From the 1860s there was a shift in the Victorian art world, as artists moved away from producing images with moral messages or specific stories behind them, and began to create pictures designed purely to be aesthetically pleasing. This ‘Art for Art’s Sake’ or Aesthetic movement (which was championed by Oscar Wilde and James MacNeil Whistler), promoted art without narrative, for the sake of creating and appreciating beauty. The focus of this portrait, as suggested by the title, is the woman's luxurious clothing. In the late nineteenth century, tightly laced corsets ceased to be fashionable, and looser, free-flowing styles such as this were adopted. However, the painting was originally titled 'Miss Giles', acknowleding the identity of the sitter, and indicating that the focus was very much on the beauty of the model. Miss Giles eventually became the artist's wife.

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