Take a look at this painting – Cloak Room, Clifton Assembly Room, 1817 by Rolinda Sharples
What is happening in this picture? Do you think they are rich or poor? Why are nearly all the paintings of people from the past of rich people? What differences do you notice in their clothing compared to the Stuart period?
The people in the picture are dressed up for a ball. Paintings from the past are nearly all rich people because poor people could not afford to sit for portraits. Towards the end of the Georgian period clothing for men and women became much simpler. Men’s clothes were less colourful and they no longer wore a large lace collar. Their clothes resembled riding costumes. To begin with the women were still wearing tight corsets and hooped skirts, but by the end they were made of softer more flimsy material with very high waistlines. If they went out, they would wear a bonnet. When they went to balls, they would definitely take a fan as it was very hot and crowded.
Watch the video clip from a ball (a dance) from BBC Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to see the type of clothes worn in the Georgian period.
Did you spot anyone doing the floss?
A fan became a very important accessory for women to carry around.
Not only would it keep them cool, but it was also used to communicate. Opening or closing a fan, tapping it, placing it on the left or right cheek all had hidden messages to prospective dance partners at a ball.
This week your task is to have a go at making your own fan. You can choose to follow the instruction sheet How to make a fan, the weblink to English Heritage below or a paper fan on the YouTube links. Please check with an adult before you watch any clips on the internet.
If you wish to decorate your fan we suggest you do so before you fold your paper. Once you have finished your fan, have a go at having a conversation. See the images below to help you.
Can you create your own fan language? Don't forget to send pictures of your fans and you "talking" with them.