NPG Number
4029
Mkey
1399
Sitter/Title
Sara Coleridge; Edith May Warter
Qualifier
by
Artist(s)
EdwardNash
Date made
1820
Medium
watercolour on ivory
Credit line
© National Portrait Gallery, London
sara coleridge edith may warter

1399

4029

Sara Coleridge; Edith May Warter

by

Edward Nash

1820

watercolour on ivory

© National Portrait Gallery, London

These two young women, daughters of the poets {Samuel Taylor Coleridge|mp966} and {Robert Southey|mp4207}, are dressed in fashionable full evening dress. The popular style for this was decolletée and in the early part of the decade often excessively low-cut. Both their gowns are lace trimmed. This was probably handmade though the invention of the Bobbin net machine in 1808 had intoduced a cheaper alternative allowing lace to be widely used for the first time. Sara Coleridge's gored sleeves, revealing a paler fabric underneath, show how the Neo-classical style, popular since the turn of the century, was now tending towards Gothic ornamentation. Their hair is centre-parted, arranged in tight curls around the temples, brought up in a loose chignon at the back and secured with jewelled combs. Ringlets were often left to fall loose on the neck behind for evening wear. The portrait was painted at their shared home, Greta Hall in Keswick in the Lake District. The artist Edward Nash was a regular visitor to the house and accompanied Robert Southey on a continental tour in 1817.