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  1. #1
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Glass in my Riley Whiting 1/2 column clock

    Hi, All,

    This is a continuation of a thread first posted in the Wood Movements section of the Message Boards. I have taken up the discussion in the Reverse Glass painting section, as I believe it is more appropriate here. The original thread is here:


    ...and we begin with a quote from Tom about my clock:

    Quote Originally Posted by gleber View Post
    Nice clock George. I am more and more envious with each of your posts.

    To me, the figure looks female. It looks like hair braids, particularly on the left (as you look at the photo), and the waistline is quite narrow for a supposedly historical prominent male figure. Also, if it is a kilt, it is not plaid, which seems odd? So, I suspect it is a dress.

    So, here we go!

    My Internet search has turned up some very interesting facts about female Scottish clothing of the 1820s! Tom, I must thank you for bringing this to my attention. Here are some of my very first findings:

    Female Scottish kilts need not have been plaid, as I thought. Many sources, including Wikipedia, say that the kilts could have been solid white or striped! I didn't have a clue!

    I found some pictures of period, 1820s female accouterments, including shoes, an outfit, and a hat, all similar in cut to the figure on my glass. I could not find an image (the search continues, however) of all three elements worn together as in the painting, but in my mind, small as it is, why couldn't all three have been worn together?

    Other attributes of the painting make me more and more able to agree with Tom's suggestion that the figure could indeed have been a woman! The thin waist, as Tom mentioned, the decidedly female face (which I attributed to fanciful painting),the hair braids, which I completely missed, and the hat all suggest 'lady' to me!

    Now, who could she be? I was not able, through a cursory search, to find any information about an 1820s-era female Scottish heroine that many have been celebrated at the time of this painting, but the search continues! I'm quite curious about this situation now, so my investigation continues.

    Moderators, if I have made a mistake in taking up this discussion in this category, please feel free to move it as you see fit!

    More to come, and I hope for your comments about this.

    PS: Does anyone else notice the possibility of an earring on the left side or the figure's face as we look at it? It is not a flaw or chip in the painting. Hmmm...

    All my best,

    George Nelson
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    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Default Re: Glass in my Riley Whiting 1/2 column clock (By: George Nelson)

    Hmmmm - good questions. Here's are a couple more thoughts to consider.
    Did women wear sporrans?
    Is the earring in the right ear actually painted white, or it is possibly a "holiday" in the original painting?

    Looks like you're on the right right track with Scottish setting with the thistle, which is the national symbol of Scotland, in the lower right corner.

    Happy sleuthing!

  3. #3
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Glass in my Riley Whiting 1/2 column clock

    Hi, Pat and All,

    Well, Pat presents a good point, and now, more than ever, I am a bit confused. I have found out through my research that a sporran, (English translation: 'purse'), is traditionally only worn by men, and to some Scots both old and young, the wearing of one by a female is offensive. The only example of this being acceptable is when worn by female Celtic dancers.

    Now, as to the earring, I have examined the painting very closely under very bright light and with a jeweler's loupe. While there is a white "aberration" in the painting near the spot where an earring would be worn, there is indeed a small swish of paint in a differing color, almost a very dark yellow (representing gold?), that seems to be the hint of an earring. There is no other color like it anywhere close to this area.

    I agree with Pat that the plant in the lower right is a representation of a thistle.

    So my curious friends, the mystery now deepens. Is this a woman or a fancifully painted man? Was the artist merely careless in her or his image of a Scott? My research indicates that a striped, rather than tartan plaid kilt, is acceptable and worn by both males and females. Perhaps what we need is a Scottish historian to come along with an opinion. Please feel free to forward any image of mine on these boards to anyone who might be able to help. Does anyone know of an expert to ask?

    More research and more fun!

    Best to all,

    Curious George (NOT the monkey )
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

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