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Emma echoes Regency Era prints

Aaron Martinet French, 1762 - 1841 Les Invisibles en tête-à-tête (Tête-à-Tête with Poke Bonnets) Le Supreme Bon Ton, pl. 16 (series) c. 1805

Have you seen the new Emma movie yet?

Some of the Wellington historical sewists and I went to see it earlier this week. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. If you haven’t seen it, you may wish to skip this post to avoid spoilers.

Mini review: The cinematography was lush and deliciously beautiful, the screenplay was brilliant and gave a new twist to a story that has been done many times before (well done Eleanor Catton), the costumes were exactly what you’d expect from Alexandra Byrne (costumes rather than clothes, but very pretty, with many gorgeous covetable pieces, quite a few where you could immediately point to the extant piece that inspired them, and the occasional weird misfit that yanks you right out of the world), and Anya Taylor-Joy was skilled enough of an actress to overcome my misgivings about her as Emma. The only drawbacks were a few small moments when the film got weird (*cough* *cough* first look at Mr Knightley and after the ball at the Crown), and Emma’s hairstyles, which were so awful that they distracted me for half the film.

But the best part was picking up all the references to late 18th c & Regency fashion plates and satirical prints. It was a delicious treat for the more serious Regency aficionados.

If you’ve seen the film, you may recognise Comfort:

Comfort, Lewis, M. G. (Matthew Gregory), 1775-1818, NYPL b18200023

And Emma’s ball dress from the ball at the Crown, both in style, trim, and pose in a few scenes:

And Harriet and Mr Martin’s kiss near the end of the film is a pretty obvious reference to this rather saucy satirical print:

Aaron Martinet French, 1762 - 1841 Les Invisibles en tête-à-tête (Tête-à-Tête with Poke Bonnets) Le Supreme Bon Ton, pl. 16 (series) c. 1805
Aaron Martinet French, 1762 – 1841 Les Invisibles en tête-à-tête (Tête-à-Tête with Poke Bonnets) Le Supreme Bon Ton, pl. 16 (series) c. 1805

(saucy because there is a clear subtext about men sticking things in holes…)

Did you notice any others?

2 Comments

  1. I rather liked her hair, but that was mainly because I was so happy it was up the whole time, and I’ll admit I’m not super familiar with the Regency hair.
    It was fun.

  2. Elise says

    I haven’t seen it, yet (and will probably wait until it is available at home), but the hair did bother me. It looked more Borgia than Austen. But, it was up! And optimism makes the world really more beautiful.

    How neat that the film referenced extant dresses and fashion plates. It makes the whole movie more fun. One thing I did notice in all the press was that Emma’s actress always stood in “third position”, and always being “in” on that joke as she affected Regency poses.

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