Sunday, 11 November 2007

Jo's clothing

There has been a comment about little Jo(e), the sketch pictures, and Victorian and Edwardian dress style. I also think some of the clothes Jo's apparently wearing in his later years appear a little Victorian in style, rather than Edwardian. This was among my first comments. I consulted with Farahar Dupré, suppliers to Sotheby's and consultants for Bonhams and Sotheby's, about this. In their opinion, and in mine, the dress Jo(e) is seen wearing in the sketches in later years was still very much in evidence in the early Edwardian era. Not always amongst the extremely fashionable, no. Yet the era does find a great many people of London in this attire. I have looked at this considerably. ( Of course.)

It should also be remembered that Walter Sickert and his group were a theatrical and artistic set, throughout their lives, to whom interesting and period costume was second nature. Throughout the 1880's they frequented Fitzrovia and the rest of the West End in their interesting dandy costume. They frequented the penny gaffs and music halls, and actors and singers, in all their theatrical attires, were a regular part of their set. Walter Sickert was constantly remarked to be dressing in interesting theatrical costume. Young 'Jo(e) was his protege, as we know.

There is nothing about the costume seen worn by Jo(e) in his later years in the sketches, or that of the man collecting his letters from 'Kelly's Library' that negates the dates relevant, or my thesis content.

Criticism is welcome, but not pointless remarks that are under researched, and simply seek to negate the thesis for the sake of it. Rather, we should look at the extent to which Sickert and the other dandy gents indulged their passion for costume, the theatre, and shared it with their friends and acquaintance. And take a closer look at the very early Edwardians.

It took a long time for some people to relinquish the idea of long dresses, hats at all times, and flamboyant collars and ties. Costume did not change entirely directly Edward VII came to the throne.

I don't think the negative commenter has much of a point in any case. The sketches clearly evidence one boy, and follow his progress. Most of the time there are no costume issues in any event. Here again are some examples of drawings of the boy.

Jo age six/seven, period costume exactly as it should be.

Jo as an adolescent; it's clearly him, as marked by Walter Sickert himself: IIII Jo. Costume exact to the period.

Jo in teenage years again, showing Eddie's physique: period costume exact.

Another one of Jo is teenage years-apparently- and the costume seems to be a little 'early Victorian', or alternatively, a tad theatrical. If Walter Sickert is this boy's 'guardian', and we know he was, then this is little of a surprise. Perhaps Jo(e), a pupil of the Westminster, was a theatre boy?

Very likely indeed.

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