Fashion Plate No. 398 from Journal des Dames et des Modes, July 9, 1802

Not on Viewexpand_more

Musical instruments like the pianoforte, harp, and guitar remained fashionable accessories for women into the 1800s, even as public music-making became an ever more masculinized pursuit. Although the woman in this image boasts a carefully cultivated curvature to her fret hand, she is in fact holding the guitar backwards! Guitars are typically performed with the left hand on the fretboard and the right hand plucking the strings. This was likely a byproduct of the engraving process, which reversed the orientation of the original drawing. The fact that the image was still printed, however, shows that it was not intended to teach music lessons, like the musical scores in the Journal de la mode, but rather to highlight the instrument as fashionable.

Fashion Plate No. 398 from Journal des Dames et des Modes
Artist Life
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Colas 736
Curator Approved

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