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Woman facing left looking forward. Proper left hand in green glove raised to chin; proper right hand in green glove holding walking stick. Large red bow above bustle on dress. From the Inventory Listing of Sidney A. Alpert "Dolly Varden/ 1872 - S "
The Currier & Ives portrait features Dolly Varden, a character in the 1840 serial novel, Barnaby Rudge written by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Dolly was a vain and flirtatious young woman with an affinity for flowered dresses. Her style was so noteworthy that a version of the muslin dress, with a skirt made of bright floral-patterned fabric, was named after her. Currier & Ives documented and heavily influenced popular culture, illustrating different styles of dress that subtly commented on the wearer's moral character. In this image, Dolly coyly peers over her shoulder as she raises her hand in the air. This particular look was associated with superficiality and respectable women would have been discouraged from following the trend.
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