attributed to Joseph Highmore

A Couple Dressed in the Height of Fashion


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Attributed to Joseph Highmore 1692–1780
Graphite and gouache on paper
Support: 202 × 266 mm
Presented by Mrs Joan Highmore Blackhall and Dr R.B. McConnell 1986

Catalogue entry

[from] Four Drawings from the Highmore Gift [T04238-T04241]

Prov: As for Highmore T04173-T04237
Lit: As for Highmore T04173-T04237

T04238 A Couple Dressed in the Height of Fashion 1744

Bodycolour over pencil on wove paper 202 × 266 (7 15/16 × 10 1/2)
Inscribed ‘1744’ in ink t.r.
Lit: Beard 1934, vol.93, p.292, fig.VI; Lewis 1975, II, p.656, no.48 (as by Highmore); Louise and Ivison Wheatley, The Language of the Fan, York 1989, p.25, repr. (col.)

This elegant caricature exaggerates the fashionable dress of 1744, making particular play with the improbable length of the gentleman's sword, the lady's outsize Chinese fan, and the vast dimensions of her hooped skirt, which are echoed by the fullness of her companion's coat. The figures are very like several paper cut-out dolls in the collection which are clearly attibutable to Highmore's daughter Susanna, but seem more confidently drawn. It is possible that Highmore drew this sheet as a model for his daughter to follow; on the other hand, one should not underestimate the fact that Susanna, who would have been nineteen in 1744, became a very competent professional artist in her own right.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996


You might like

In the shop