The Shrine

I owe John William Waterhouse a great deal for helping me come to terms with my hair. For years I was bothered with my hair for being quite straight, fine and limp, until I came across Waterhouse’s paintings and noticed that many of his characters had hair not unlike mine. Nowadays whenever I start to feel uncomfortable with my hair I think “Waterhouse”, “Waterhouse”!

This photoshoot was probably unconsciously influenced by a Waterhouse’s painting, The Shrine. I’ve now noticed the stairs, too.

“The Shrine”, John William Waterhouse, 1895

I wonder why Waterhouse has called his painting “The Shrine”, however. I do remember that I hadn’t expected the title when I first found it out. I didn’t find the scene solemnly religious or ritualistic – but maybe the place is part of a shrine, or the scene itself is a shrine?

(Hair clip: high street

Dress: vintage 60s green floral sundress, available at shop.

Shoes: New Look, second-hand)
(Photos by JEG)


For the boutique: photos of the Laura Ashley “Blue Velvet Waterhouse” dress

*Now available in the shop!

It’s the full post for the Laura Ashley “Blue Velvet Waterhouse” dress, finally. I’ve got quite a number of photos to add! Well maybe not going to turn out very editorial, but as the dress is a boutique item, I’d risk erring on the side of posting too many photos.

Dress: vintage 80s Laura Ashley, UK made, available at the Pretty Bones Jefferson boutique

Gloves: vintage 50s, from Vintage Ireland‘s vintage fair at the Freemason’s Hall

Shoes: REDZ

But before I do, here’s a famous John William Waterhouse painting that I’d like to share, as an explanation why I’ve been calling this Laura Ashley velvet dress “Blue Velvet Waterhouse”. JEG, my wonderful photographer in this venture, was the one who thought of that the images of the Laura Ashley were quite “Waterhouse” during the photoshoot last week.

Miranda, The Tempest, John William Waterhouse 1916

I thought it a really lucky coincidence that we should happen to discover the “higher aesthetic” of this dress, since I had set out for the photoshoot without any definite concept or plan except to get practical photos of the dress, and possibly because I was focusing on the “Laura Ashley” attribute of the dress so much, it hadn’t crossed my mind that it’s actually just ever so slightly Pre-Raphaelite. But why of course! how could I have forgotten their massive use of velvet in the paintings?

One of the Waterhouse paintings that came to my mind was this one, “The Crystal Ball”, which I had a chance to see in another big town a few years ago when it was on a tour exhibition, before I had had an idea who the Pre-Raphaelites are. Look at the velvet.

(Now I could probably start talking about how George Lucas must have been inspired by this painting too, but then I digress.)

The Crystal Ball, 1902

As usual as for the boutique listings, I’m going to put up some headless photos, just to show the dress. This dress is actually a bit large for me overall, and I imagine it would look even more flattering on someone of the right size.

And some close-ups including ones that I won’t be able to fit onto the Etsy listing. As you may have noticed, the dress has two little flaws – one is that a button being of a slightly lighter colour than the others (apparently the original button was damaged and a lighter blue velvet fabric was used to replace the covering); and the other is that there was a tiny damage/hole on the back of the dress skirt, which has been repaired so that there is not danger of fraying or the damage getting worse. Here next is a close-up trying to show where the damage is. The fortunate thing is that as the velvet is so deep and rich, and the skirt is wide and pleated; the fault is unnoticeable when the dress is worn. If you click on some of the above photos for a larger view, you may be able to see where the damage is, like a little lighter spot beneath the hip in the centre right.

And the buttons:

I personally think that having a slightly lighter button at the bottom lends an subtle interesting element to the dress and draws attention to the waist, though of course it would depend on personal preference.

I’m going to finish writing up the listing description in a minute and then I’ll add the shop link for this dress to the post! So you’ll be able to read more technical details and see if it’s your size. I suppose I’ll just post one more Waterhouse painting before I finish this post; it’s my favourite, Mariana in the South –

Mariana in the South, John William Waterhouse 1897

I think I’d like to thank Waterhouse many, many times for helping me feel better about my hair.

(Photos of me by JEG.)


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Coming up in the boutique: the Laura Ashley blue velvet

vintage 80s Laura Ashley blue velvet dress

I’ve been meaning to post this vintage 80s Laura Ashley blue velvet dress in the boutique shop, and finally had time to do the photoshoot during Easter week. Choosing which photos for the listing is quite difficult, though. But here’s a sneak preview!

I’m playing a bit of guitar for one of JEG’s songs at the EEP (yep, it’s spelt “EEP”) launch of our friend Fin O’Brine this evening, so I’m not sure if I’ll get time to finish writing up the listing. But if not today then definitely tomorrow this dress will go up and join the other lovely Laura Ashley dress in my boutique. There’s also a red taffeta Victorian-inspired (but short!) dress with black velvet bodice that I’d like to introduce together with this blue velvet – I’ll blog + facebook the news once they’re ready in the shop.

(Photos by JEG.)


*Please subscribe to this blog, check out my Pretty Bones Jefferson Boutique on Etsy, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more vintage and original fashion!