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Red, it never really goes out of style as a fashion choice. It is such a bold power color and the seducer of men everywhere.

Tonight is our third section of Articulate the Art/Discuss the Dress for our Red Dress Friday this month. I present to you the Honorable Mrs. Thomas Hope. She was painted by Henry Bone in 1813.

The Honorable Mrs. Thomas Hope by Henry Bone 1813

The Honorable Mrs. Thomas Hope Full Faced in a Red Velvet Dress by Henry Bone 1813

My impressions: Kudos to the artist for attempting to paint velvet. It is such a difficult fabric to accurately convey. I feel the bottom of the dress is far more textured than the top half. Personally, I would never have paired one, much less, two naval grazing necklaces with such a low-cut dress, but it does add interest to the ensemble. I find the use of cap sleeves to be ironic with the plunging neckline. However, bear in mind, for the Regency fashion of Empire waisted frocks it was ideal to have the top of the dress to rest right above the nipple. Should the woman move her arms in haste, everyone got a show. Perhaps, it was her true proportions or perhaps it was the artist’s misjudgment but do her head and feet look . . . demurely petite given the rest of her frame?

Aside from the Mrs. Hope, herself, the rest of the picture appears flat and stylized. Perhaps this was done purposely to offset and give importance to the figure. I love the fabric of the tapestry/shawl she is holding, but studio posies are typically stiff and . . .  well, “posed.”

It is amusing a canine appears in this picture. Again, it seems almost a caricature and reminiscent of medieval images of dogs. Often times props, including animals have some sort of symbolic significance but I am unsure of what the pup conveys. Well, better a small black dog in a playful stance than some artist assistant “photo-bombing” in the foreground. . .

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