Chatelaine Scent Bottle with Queen Victoria Lace
Acrylic on paper
14" x 11"
The lady who owned this chatelaine bottle would have hung it from her belt and might have relied on the medicinal properties of the scents to ward off illness as she passed the sewage, horse waste and other “sickening” odors of the city. Through the late 1800’s, it was a common theory that ‘bad air’, or the smell of rotting organic materials, was the source of illnesses such as cholera, chlamydia, or the Black Death.
The lace background is based on Queen Victoria’s wedding dress. After reading “Victoria” by Daisy Goodwin, I couldn’t resist! Interestingly, Queen Victoria is credited with starting the “white wedding dress” tradition. The Honiton bobbin lace, comes from Honiton, England. As you might imagine, they experienced a boost in sales and status after the regal exposure.
My work draws inspiration from patterns and objects in the decorative arts and fine arts. I am composing images using period ceramics and textiles, and drawing narratives from these objects and their history. The silhouetted vessels are sourced from museum archives and auction listings. I’m drawn to their manufacturing history and the globalization of cultural knowledge. The patterns in my paintings are based on researched historical sources as well. I’m particularly drawn to the history and linear structure of lace. Although these objects (and the decorative arts) may seem inconsequential and eccentric to our 21 century perspective, I relish their uniqueness and authenticity.