The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Lady dressing her Hair
  • Richard Parkes Bonington (1802 - 1828)
  • A Lady dressing her Hair
  • France
  • 1827
  • Painting
  • Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour with gum varnish on paper
  • Image size: 15.2 x 10.2 cm
  • Signature: 'RPB 1827'
  • P679
  • Not on display
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This quintessentially Romantic image may have a literary source, but if so it has not been identified. From the woman’s costume the scene appears to be set in the seventeenth century. The mirror suggests that it is in part a traditional vanitas picture, a condemnation of pride and self-deceit, but if there are any moralistic undertones, they are overwhelmed by the drama of a gorgeously clad woman in a richly furnished interior calmly dressing her hair while the wind and waves crash outside her window. The emerald green pigment, so beautifully used here, was introduced in the 1820s.