Waterolour of a sailor style dress

This bright blue striped nautical outfit painted by “SF” is a potential reference to the popular “Dolly Varden” fashion, which emerged as a result of the revival of polonaise dresses from the eighteenth century. According to the V&A:

“the polonaise was an overdress or open jacket cut away from the waist down revealing an underskirt beneath. One form of the polonaise was known as the ‘Dolly Varden,’ after Charles Dickens’ fictional 18th century heroine, Dolly Varden in Barnaby Rudge, who was known for her rather flashy clothes.”

The subject is paddling a canoe with a long wooden pole and wearing a straw hat with “ADA” written across the ribbon. A “sailor” straw hat was customarily worn with informal wear.


[A music sheet for the “Dolly Varden Quadrille,”] ca. 1872, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dolly_Varden_Quadrille_music_sheet_cover.jpg.