November 1, 2013

William Pyne's "Rustic Figures" in Ackermann's Repository

While going back through old Ackermann's Repository issues gathering up images for a post on Collet Necklaces in fashion plates, I came across these glorious plates by William Pyne which were published in the Repository from 1813-1814.  One month they were there then a few months later they were gone.  Brief though the run may have been, I am utterly charmed by them!  Sometimes he got two pages, sometimes one; Sometimes they were called "Rustic Figures" sometimes "Pyne's Rustic Figures" and sometimes nothing at all, but here they are in all their glory!  I hope you love them as much as I do!  I'll upload the full images, so you can save the high-res version by clicking on them.  All images from Bunka Gauken Library (and cropped by me).

What I find most fascinating about them is that practically every person in these images would fit right in in the 1770s and 1780s.  I wonder if it is artistic license or if the rural poor and working classes were really this much out of fashion in the period.  Certainly the gauzy, breezy things that the fashionable were wearing aren't the most practical for working, but generally I would assume that a great majority of the people were wearing serviceable versions of the classic Regency silhouette.  What do you think?


  1. These are all working class rustic, so I think that they would be wearing older styles. There was a big market in 2nd hand clothing, and old styles are more likely to be available in that not-new pool of clothing that many poorer people could afford.

  2. Wonderful find! Thank you very much for sharing. I just read a book from Caroline de la Motte Fouqué on fashions between 1785-1829. Right at the beginning she let's the reader know that she was used to see lots of fashions coming together in just one period...her governess still was drawn to the old fashions, while her mother loved to follow the latest fashion, which she found in the cities and brought to the country life style...I guess the lower classes back then stick to their more practical fashions and just gradually introduced new fashions. Altogether I suppose, 'new fashions' were a slow transition in most classes.