The modern genius of history at her toilet

The modern genius of history at her toilet

Caroline, wearing a chemise and high-strapped shoes, stands admiring herself in front of a full-length mirror. With her right hand she adjusts a feather in her elaborate headdress, which is adorned with the Prince of Wales’s feathers on the far side and several pointed feathers on the near side, two of which resemble horns; her left hand rests on her hip. Bergami stands behind her in astonished delight, his hands raised in the air; a garment hangs from his left arm, and several towels or pieces of clothing marked with the initials “B B” are strewn on the floor. A man and a woman peer in on the scene from an adjoining room, the man with a pleased look on his face and the woman with one of surprise. On the wall behind Bergami hangs an oval mirror, the decorative frame of which includes a figure of Cupid standing atop a goat while shooting an arrow. A book with “History” on its spine lies on its side in the left foregraound; a burning candle in its holder sits upon the book.

  • Printmaker: Lane, Theodore, 1800-1828, printmaker.
  • Title: The modern genius of history at her toilet [graphic].
  • Publication: London : Pubd. by G. Humphrey, 27 St. James’s St., May 20, 1821.

Catalog record 

821.05.20.02

Acquired March 2019

Can you forbear laughing

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“A lady stands at her dressing-table (right), her hair in an enormous pyramid decorated with feathers torn from a peacock, an ostrich and a cock. A young girl wearing a hat holds the peacock by a wing; another wearing a cap tugs hard at one of its tail feathers (which are very unlike peacock’s feathers). An ostrich (left), which has lost most of its tail feathers, is about to pluck out those which ornament the lady’s hair. A cock stands in the foreground (right), having lost almost all its tail feathers, many of which lie on the floor. A black servant wearing a turban stands on his mistress’s right, handing feathers from a number which he holds in his left hand. The lady, who faces three-quarter to the right, is elaborately dressed in the fashion of the day. Her pyramid of hair is decorated with lappets of lace and festoons of jewels as well as with feathers. She wears large earrings, a necklace with a cross, her bodice is cut very low, and her elbow sleeves have lace ruffles. A pannelled wall forms the background.”–British Museum online catalog.

  • Printmaker: Dawe, Philip.
  • Published: London : Printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, No. 53 Fleet Street, as the act directs 14 June 1776.

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

776.06.14.01+

Acquired November 2012