|Sargent, Mrs. Adrian Iselin 1888|
Having recently viewed the famous widow-dancing scene in Gone with the Wind, and encountered a late Victorian widow in a novel, I wondered how different mourning rituals were in the U.S. and Great Britain.
Obviously, things changed from Scarlett O’Hara’s time. The clipping from American Encyclopedia of Practical Knowledge 1886 tells us there aren’t any hard and fast rules, while the one from Manners and Rules of Good Society (England 1888) is quite specific. My own copy of Manners and Rules of Good Society for 1911 shows a loosening of the late Victorian rules, but things still aren’t as casual as in the U.S., and one can imagine some of the older generation frowning at younger widows who shorten their mourning period to less than 18 months.
|U.S. Mourning 1886|
|England Mourning 1888|
Image: John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Adrian Iselin 1888, courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, via Wikipedia.
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