Friday, May 25, 2012

Rococo Toy Theater & 18th Century Fashions

Several weeks ago I posted about artwork I created as screensavers for my NOOK e-book reader.
In that post I gave a list of Georgian era romance novels I've enjoyed reading and a list of some I've yet to read.  Well I finally got around to reading "Salt Bride" by Lucinda Brant and was inspired to create a new digital scene based on that novel.

EKDuncan digital scene inspired by the Georgian Romance Novel - Salt Bride by Lucinda Brant
This digital scene was inspired by the Richmond Ball portion of 
the Romance Novel  "Salt Bride" by Lucinda Brant.

Here we have four main characters from the book. To the left is our Hero - The Earl or Salt Hendon and his lovely raven haired wife Jane.  To the left are the Earl's best friend Sir Anthony and his evil drama queen sister Lady Diana St. John.  

The book mainly takes place in 1763; however the fashion plates I had to work with are from the 1770's, so they are not an exact match for the time period.  I've taken a bit of artistic license to best match the images I had to the characters in the book - grins.

In the Book - "Salt Bride"
Jane -  is dressed for the Richmond Ball in a gown of soft blue watered silk with a low square cut bodice. She is wearing the Sinclair betrothal locket around her neck and since she has chosen not to powder her ebony hair. This is Jane's first London ball and also her first step into society as the new Countess of Salt Hendon.

The Earl - is dressed in formal attire with a large amount of medals and honors pined to his waistcoat. His hair is powdered and he has diamond buckles on his shoes and knee breeches. He is enchanted with his new wife and still trying to understand some puzzling issues from their past.

Sir Anthony Templestowe - Is dressed in formal wear of Florentine Green and his hair is also fashionably powdered for the occasion. Tony is doing his best to reign his sister in so that she does not continue to disrupt the Earl's life.

Lady Diana St. John is dressed in an elegant sack back gown of Red and Gold. Diana continues to be her stubborn, contrary self and makes some venomous accusations toward her brother during their confrontation.


I really enjoyed "Salt Bride" by Lucinda Brant.  It had a little bit of everything to keep the story moving along. Romance, intrigue, several mysteries, a cast of great characters and a not so likable villainess.  The story seemed true to the time period, the characters were flawed - as all good characters should be and the conflicting issues in the story are not what you would typically see in a romance novel - which kept the story interesting (at least to me).  It is a bit sad at times and it makes you think about how very different life was in the 1700's but as in all good romances, true love wins out in the end.

Best of all this book was a "FREE" download.  So if you have never read a Georgian Era romance, want to try a new author or just like free ebooks; then get it while it's still available as a gift from the author to you.  
Thanks Lucinda for a really good FREE read!!! 
Looks like I've found a new author to add to my regular read list.


A bit more about my digital artscene.

 The background of this scene is my adaptation of a vintage toy theater backdrop of a Rococo Style room.  If it looks a tad familiar... it is the scene that is barely visible in my last post about silhouettes.  I've also used a photo of an oriental carpet, a vintage frame and several vintage fashion plate figures from the Georgian time period.

I've made a few modifications to several of the figures. Some were "flipped" to face in the opposite direction, and I altered the position of the heads on the Earl and Countess. I've also given the Countess ebony hair and place a locket of sapphire and diamond about her neck in my scene.

 The Earl

This is the image I started with prior to my making a few adjustments to the way he looks in the finished scene.  Other colorized versions of him can be found - HERE

The Countess

This is the PNG image I started with for my Countess - she is really Marie Antoinette.
Other color versions of this image can be found - HERE

Sir Anthony Templestowe
This was the PNG I used to depict the Earls friend.
Other color versions of this image can be found - HERE

Lady Diana St. John
This is my altered version of a 1779 fashion plate so the Villianess 
could be properly dressed in Red and Gold as she was in the book.

This is what the original fashion plate looked like.
The original 1779 French Fashion Plate - Theatrical Costume
I removed the background in Photoshop,then created a variety of color schemes for her.
I like the pose of this character, it's very interesting and adds a lot to a scene.

The Original Color Scheme

Green and Teal Version

Green and Plum Version

Sunset and Gold Version

Periwinkle and Gold Version

Green and Gold Version

Gold Version

Blue and Red Version

Plum and Green Version

Teal and Green Version

Plum Version

Teal Version

Gold and Green Version

Pink and Green Version
I always have a hard time finding a stopping point when I come up with my color creations. 
I finally called it quits at fifteen on this one.  She's just such an interesting lady an I had a lot of fun playing with her colors.

Don't forget to download the romance "Salt Bride by Lucinda Brant" while it's still "Free"

Till next time...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Late 18th Century Fashion Silhouettes

I wanted to put a fun twist to some of the fashion plates I've previously posted about 
and decided to turn some of them into Silhouettes.

Silhouettes on a Stage by EKDuncan
This is my rendition of silhouette art using various late 18th century French fashion plates and a variety of vintage paper theater images from my personal collection.

Silhouette portraiture was a popular way to have ones likeness taken in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries since they were quicker and less expensive than having a portrait painted. Many times they were done by professional silhouette artists; however, it was also an art form that many genteel ladies added to their repertoire of fashionable skills.

Normally a portrait silhouette would be done in profile of the subjects face, yet there are 
also many historical examples of full body and multi-subject silhouettes.
Many fine examples of vintage silhouettes at the National Portrait Gallery - HERE
There is also an interesting post on silhouette portraiture at Jane Austen World - HERE

Modern technology and programs like Photoshop are a quick and easy way to convert a png into a silhouette image. I selected 20 of the vintage fashion pngs I've previously posted about and turned those into silhouettes to use for fun craft projects.

These are the silhouettes I created of  late 18th century French fashions from the time of Marie Antoinette

Now that I have these digital silhouettes, I can have even more fun with them
 by adding creative layers either digitally or by hand.

I prefer to add my new "layers" digitally; however a silhouette can also be printed on 
plain paper then attached to decorative paper and cut out to achieve a similar effect. 
(Just remember to attache the silhouette image to the back side of the decorative paper 
so that once you cut your image out and turn it over the decorative paper is visible.)

Here are a few examples of digital embellishments 
I've created using some of my silhouette figures.

Red and Gold Royal Couple - Lady 1774 - Gent 1778
I collect all kinds of vintage images and have an extensive collection of antique book covers.  
This pair of French dignitaries was created using the image of an old red and gold leather book cover over each silhouette in Photoshop and then beveling the images to get a better outline around each.

The book cover I used is from a 1717 copy of - Historie de l'academie Royale.
French King, Louis XIV who reigned till 1715 was known as the "Sun King" so I thought this was a perfect match for my couple even though the French fashions depicted are from 1770's.

Antique Script Couple - Gent 1776 - Lady 1780

This couple was created in Photoshop using multiple layers including: 
patterns, textures, styles and script from a vintage document.
I was going for an antique metal  cutout look for this set of fashion figures.

Etched Peacock Glass Effect - Ladies Fashions of 1782 and two from 1774
The combinations you can come up with when layering over a silhouette are endless.
For this trio I layered in different patterns, styles and settings in Photoshop to get a totally different look. This time I wanted something that looked more like etched glass and one of my layers is actually a photograph I took of a piece of privacy glass from an old antique office door.

EKDuncan photo of antique privacy glass
I try and take pictures of interesting items to use as texture layers in Photoshop and funky glass is one of my favorite items to use.  The flash even caused a rainbow effect to appear in the glass that gave my trio of ladies a surprisingly fun bit of color.

This texture photo and others can be seen HERE at my deviantART gallery.

It's all up to you and your imagination as to what you can create with
a silhouette figure so here are all 20 for you to play with.


Late 18th Century Fashion Silhouettes

The Ladies

1774 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1774 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1776 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1778 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1778 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1779 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1779 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1779 Theater Costume Fashion Plate Silhouette

1779 Theater Costume Fashion Plate Silhouette

1780 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1780 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1782 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1783 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1784 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1784 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

The Gents

1771 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1776 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1778 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1779 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

1779 French Fashion Plate Silhouette

Silhouettes are also a lot of fun to use just the way they are in traditional black.
I loved the effect they gave my Theater Scene as if the actors are just behind the curtain.

Theater Scene by EKDuncan using silhouettes of late 18th century French fashion plates
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these fashion plates in a new way and remember full color versions of each can be found on previous posts labeled 18th c French Fashions - HERE

I'll be back later on with more French Fashion plates from the time of Marie Antoinette.

till next time...