Brazilian woman with child ~ 1855


Unidentified woman and baby ~ 1855

This is one of my favorite images of the 1850s of mother and child. The woman, who if you look closely at her face is really very young, looks so fresh and delicate in her attire. She wears the most delicate white polka dotted net lace ‘jacket’, or ‘over-bodice’. I don’t know what the correct term for such a garment is, but it is so beautiful and delicate. I have not seen many photos of that era that depict such a garment. It has the shape of a jacket, it has lace trim, and a collar. Underneath it you can clearly see the bodice of her dress, which seems to have front buttons and a collar of some sorts, but it is hard to see on the photo. And I think she wears a brooch. I love the long broad ribbon of her bonnet with the flower decoration. It is hard to see on the photo but I wonder if the ribbon was also made of lace, it looks a bit transparent. The ribbon hangs loose all the way down her waist, but if you see closely there is another, smaller bonnet ribbon that is tied underneath her skin. I wonder if all bonnets used to have two ribbons, one small and one large? The bonnet is trimmed with lovely flowers that envelope her delicate face. She wears a bracelet and a ring. The out-of-focus baby wears a dress with a similar sheerness, pattern and trim as the mother’s jacket. I wonder if the baby is a boy or a girl. It could be either as the boys wore dresses too in those days. The child also has a necklace – maybe a toy, a kind of rattle of some sorts? And it has a type of dark colored cap or bonnet. I like the expression on the mother’s face, slightly pensive and a bit uncomfortable. She seems like an unconventional beauty at that time. I like the odd framing of the portrait: the mother is placed too much to the right of the image, while looking at the empty space on the left.

Source: Rio de Janeiro – 1840-1900 – Uma crônica fotográfica. Rio de Janeiro: G. Ermakoff Casa Editorial, 2006

Via: Wiki Commons

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