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THE WOMAN IN WHITE from the novel by Wilkie Collins

lou19's picture

This life size figure was made for an art Exhibition. Artists were asked to create a work of art based on a favourite book.
I choose the victorian novel "the woman in white." I was inspired by the chilling and dramatic description of Walter Hartright's first meeting with a mysterious lady dressed from head to foot in white clothing on Hampstead Heath in London. 


My idea was to make a 2D figure with 3D details using just wire and fine transparent muslin fabric. I wanted the gown to look ghostly so designed the gown making it as transparent as possible. A ghostly look was more important than historical accuracy although I still wanted the dress to look Victorian. The vintage thread buttons were an ebay find. The book I found most useful was the "V&A Nineteenth-century fashion in detail" by Lucy Johnson


The hat. bag, and hands  were made by  adapting   Butterick sewing patterns using only the very fine muslin,  trying to get a transparent ghostly effect.

The frame was an ebay find, I removed some pieces and  painted it white.  I added the wire head and arms, then covered it all in bias cotton tape.
You can read more about this project at  thecrinolinelady.wordpres.com

HelgaPataki's picture

Your beautiful masterpiece (post #36075, reply #1 of 3)

This is gorgeous.  What fabric fiber did you use?  When I think of drapy I think of rayon but it isn't transparent, and when I think of transparent like gauzes silk, or cotton its sticky and when cotton is like organza then its too stiff.  is it hanky linen?

lou19's picture

Thanks for comments. The (post #36075, reply #2 of 3)

Thanks for comments.

The fabric was a very fine even weave cotton muslin. This fabric was semi transparent. Also quite a popular fabric in the 18th and 19th century.

In the book the woman is described as carrying a small bag and wearing a gown, shawl, and hat  "not  composed of  delicate  or expensive material"

HelgaPataki's picture

wow great homework (post #36075, reply #3 of 3)

hey I like the sounds of that.  when you correspond the fabric of the day you really created an equisite piece of fine art!!!

you deserve a round of applause.