Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: John R. Wildman (England, early 19th century)


Figure 1.--John Strange and Sarah Ann Williams are shown in this circa 1830 painting by John R Wildman (active 1823-39). Oil on canvas at London's Guildhall Gallery. The long pants worn with skeleton suits were the forst long pants specifically designed for boys.

HBC at this time has virtually no information on English portratist John. R. Wildman. We do know that he was active during 1823-39. We know of one charming portarit of children showing a boy wearing a skeleton suit, John Strange Williams. John is pictured with his sister Sarah Ann. Theu must have come from a prosperous family to have a portrait done. John wears a classic skeleton suit. The 1830s was the last decade that the skeleton suit, which has appaered at the end of the 18th century, was a fashionable style for a boy, but the style lingered through the 1840s. Notice the bagginess and klength of the trousers. Trousers worn with skeleton suits in the early 19th century would have been more trim fitting and extended only to above the ankle. We are unfamiliar Wildman's complete body of work. This portrait comes from London's Guild Hall. The National Portrait Gallery in London also has a Wildman portrait, but in 2001 was not on display. It is another portrait.




Christopher Wagner





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Created: October 18, 2001
Last updated: October 18, 2001