Portrait of the week - Lady with a fan
Lady with a fan, by Jules-Charles Aviat (1898)
Currently at Gavin Graham Gallery, London.
Both the hair-do and the dress of this dark-haired lady is typical of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The hair is gathered into a bun-like shape at the top pf the head. Perhaps not the most elegant of coiffures, but very typical - no doubt about that.
The late 19th century had a special love for frilly things in light colours. Even grown-ups could be dressed up in lace-covered white dresses that we perhaps would more associate with children. Here the dress is completed with a pink sash.
The model of the dress on the other hand is clearly meant for an adult. This is most obvious by the slim waist that must have taken a corset to achieve (corsets were very common at the time, but not worn by everyone all the time).
It is also obviously a summer-dress, both obvious by the colour and the shape of the dress. It is not so complicated in form and pattern as the more prestigious dresses of the time - and we have no reason to suspect that the unknown lady on this picture is of anything but good (and wealthy) family.