I don’t live in the past—I only visit—and so can you!

A CLARIFICATION

A correspondent was uncertain of the reason for our series of triptychs. She wondered if I was attempting—and failing—to duplicate exactly the inspiration? I realized that I had alluded to but had not come out and said the reason for the triptychs.

The fact is—and let me plain about this—these are shots that stemmed from and may well be included in for a book that I am doing on the proper way to move in historical dress. I believe that maintaining the proper method of movement is almost as important as wearing the accurate dress, and I have been incredibly upset by photos of people dressed even in accurate costume but who look as if they just came from a modern fancy-dress party! As Ruth M. Green says in The Wearing of Costume: “…when you have a fine tool you need to know how to use it. The most correct costume looks like fancy dress if you don’t know how to wear it, and when you do know you’ll find the clothes give more scope than you thought.” Hopefully when you see someone dressed even in immaculately accurate costume but posing and behaving like someone from the twenty-first century, you will be as unsettled as I am! The illusion is broken!

Therefore, in the triptychs, there is an incorrect scene, where a person dressed in at least some accurate costume is posing and behaving in an inappropriate manner; a correct scene, where the person dressed in accurate clothing is in my opinion at least posing ad behaving appropriately; and a period illustration that stands as the inspiration. I have attempted to show what irritates me, what pleases me and what inspired my feelings. The correct photo is not a scrupulous copy of the inspiration but rather an attempt to show the proper way to pose and behave, for example not slouching, head covered (if a woman) and not showing too much—or inappropriate—regions of skin.

I am sorry that I have not been so detailed in earlier appearances of the triptychs and hope that this brief note will help explain what I have attempted to do and will be attempting to do in the future!

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