I think she was my first. Her dark brows, her heavy eyelids, her tired and shadowed expression, the mouth about to purse into petulance – the elements of a spoiled Edwardian countenance – charmed me into purchasing her. I collect many images of lovely ladies, but this gilded siren was my first.
She wears a dressing/morning gown, en dishabille: low cut, but reflecting the hard outlines of the corset underneath. Her hair is hastily pinned up, threatening to break loose like dusky tendrils of sea spray. The gown itself is a seamstress' nightmare – pieced together and decorated in some dim factory room so that it could now blaze in a light of ribbons, linen, velvet, muslin, lace, brilliants, folds, ruffles, pleats and ruches. The embroidered panel at the hem glitters with flowers and medievel quatrefoils. Braided fringe sweps the floors when she walks: more dust for the skivvies to clean. The apron of needlepoint lace is a pale garden of leaves and vines, sprouted from bobbin and thread
Strings of pearls are looped and knotted; dangling from her throat and shoulders. The fruits of a mollusk's lonely labors are valuable indeed, yet they are deemed by this lady of experience to be worthy only of her boudoir. Bows are pinned to her sleeves, like a 17th century courtier's – she is alternately bare and lavishily covered.
She's leaning forward. Her right arm is passive, with silken fingers resting on a satin pillow. Her left arm, however, is uncomforatble, bent: what few muscles that a life of leisure hasn't atrophied are tense, prepared to push her out of her painted chair. She hasn't moved yet, but is ready to – she is both lanquid and exasperated.
My theory? She has just risen from bed, and wrapped herself in her rustling, complicated gown. She is either about to welcome someone in, or make sure he closes the door behind him.