Last week most of you loved the redingote with its feathered trim, but your reaction to it was fascinating depending on whether you read my description of it as having feathered trim as actual feathers or not. I rather think that sometimes I should leave things purposely very vague so that the ratings are reactions to what we perceive, vs what we know (but which is the purer truth…?). Anyhow, manky feathers or elaborate feathered silk aside, the redingote rated a rather nice 8.5 out of 10.
This week, for the transition from outerwear to green I present Frederika Sophia Wilhelmina of Prussia, Princess of Orange in a brunswick of deep green checked silk with a pink silk hood lining, cuffs and revers.
Her stomacher appears to be made of the same pink silk ribbon as the bow that ties the hood of her brunswick, arranged in an overlapping lattice pattern.
The only accessories Wilhelmina wears are a black ribbon around her neck, and a lace cap on her powdered hair.
The details of the painting are quite magnificent. You can almost read her book, and the turn of her slim sleeves (the same sleeves that caused such commentary in the stripey zone front jacket we rated a few months back) is quite obvious thanks to the checked silk.
Wilhemina of Orange was a strong, ambitious woman, considered to have been the de-facto ruler of the Dutch Republic, holding more influence and power than her husband, William V of Orange. They ruled at a volatile time in Dutch history: they were removed from power, returned to power with the help of her brother, Frederick William II of Prussia, and then removed again when the French Revolution changed the balance of power in Europe. Wilhelmina was much luckier than Marie Antoinette, as she lived out her days in safety in England.
Her character certainly shows in her direct gaze, but it is her frock we are interested in today. Is the mix of masculine inspired brunswick and girlish pink too much? Or does she balance the different aesthetic elements in her outfit more successfully than she balanced the opposing political factions in the Dutch Republic?
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