Little Lord Fauntleroy Text: Clothing--Kilts

Figure 1.--Illustrators have depicted Cedric in a range of outfits. Rarely have they drawn him wearing kilt suits, an outfit Mrs. Burnett did mention. This illustration by Graham Rust is one of the few we have noted showing Cedric in his kilt suit. The kilt skirt depicted here is a bit shorter than we have noted in the photigrahic record and we have not noted white kilt suits. They were mostly darker. The illustrator has forgotten the streamer on the hat. Also notice his nurse maid's red hair. Many servants in the northeastern cities were Irish in the 1880s.

One of the most popular styles for younger boys in the 1880s were kilts. This was especially true in America. The style that was popular was not the elaborate High Kilt outfit, but rather a style of kilt suit. Many boys wore these kilt suits rather than dresses. We have a general ide that very young noys wore dresses, but then graduated to kilt suits. We are unsure if boys who wore kilt suits also had dresses, but we think that this was probably not very common. At any rate, Mrs. Burnett picks up on the fashion for kilt suits, but uses the term kilt skirt and not kilt suit. Most illustratorshave, howeve, not picked up on thepassages when illustrating the book. The references are brief and refer to a period when Cedric was younger, before we actually meet him at the beginning of the book.

Actual Text

Here are the actual references to curls in Mrs. Burnett's text:

When he was old enough to walk out with his nurse, dragging a small wagon and wearing a short white kilt skirt, and a big white hat set back on his curly yellow hair, he was so handsome and strong and rosy that he attracted everyone's attention, and the nurse would come home and tell his mamma stories of the laddies who had stopped their carriages to look and speak to him .... [Chapter 1]

[Cedric describing his friend Dick] "... I was carrying it [a ball] and it bounced into the middle of the street where the carriages and horses were, as I was so disapponted I began to cry--I was very little little. I had kilts on, and Dick was blackening a man's shoes, and he said 'Hallo!" and he ran in between the horses and caught the ball for me ..." [Chapter 2]

Reginald Birch

Famed illustrator Reginald Birch was the original and best known illustrator of . He was an established illustrator even before he illustrated Mrs. Burnett's classic. He also illustrated her Secret Garden. Born in 1856, he was still illustrating books in the 1930s. He must have witnessed tremendous changes in his long life span. He died in 1943. His illustrations may have been just as influential, if not more so. than Mrs. Burnett's text. He did not draw an illustration showing Cedric in kilt suits.

Graham Redgrave-Rust (1942- )

Graham Redgrave-Rust is an English artist-illustrator who has also authoted books. His credits are sometimes under the name Graham Rust. Rust was born in Hertfordshire during 1942. He studied his craft at the Polytechnic School of Art, Regent Street; the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London; and the National Academy of Art in New York. He has a strong interest in architectural art. He was an artist at "Architectural Forum" for Time Inc. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1965. He has persued his career in various countries around the world, including Europe, North and South America, India, Greece, North Africa and the Far East. He taught for a year as am artist in residence at Woodberry Forest School, Virginia (1968). In keeping with his interes in architectural art he has painted murals and ceilings in homes located in various countries. His favorite piece is "The Temptation" at the Ragley Hall, Warwickshire. He published a collection of mural designs as The Painted House (1988). Further similar works along this line inclkude Decorative Designs (1998) and The Painted Ceiling (2001). Rust first exhibited drawings of London and Rome at the Hazlitt Gallery in 1971. He has also exhibited overseas. He has illustrated books. He gas done two of Frances Hodgson Burnett's books: The Secret Garden (1886) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1993). He also illustrated and Vita Sackville-West's Some Flowers (1993).

Kilt Suits

The original kilt costume Queen Victoria chose for the young princes was the Scottish Highland kilt. Parents in England began dressing their boys in Higland kilts. This was primarily wealthy boys whose parents could aford such extravagances. The style gradually evolved to skirted suits worn by boys who had emerged from dresses, but whose mothers did not believe they were ready for trousers. The style was most popular in England and Ametica, but was also worn in France and other European countries. The kilt suit continued to be worn by boys into the 20th century, but passed from fashion after the turn-of-the 20th century.


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Created: 4:10 PM 2/26/2007
Last updated: 4:10 PM 2/26/2007