A new Conveyance to the Regions of Folly
A new Conveyance to the Regions of Folly Or the Ladies Balloon Dress for the year 1786. W. Wellings (Published by) London 1786. The Bute Archive Mount Stuart
This hilarious illustration makes comments both on fashion and politics. The Union Jack on the flag and balloon suggest robust Britannia moving towards the regions of folly, perhaps across the water to France. Who does she carry on her back? Perhaps this is France having no choice be carried along and sign the Eden Treaty 1786. Obstinacy on the part of Prime minister William Pitt the younger made the agreement wholly benificial to Brittain and ended up hurting the French economy. It is sometimes thought to be one of the grievances that sparked the French Revolution.
The Bute Collection at Mount Stuart has fantasticly humorous collection of portraiture and satirical etchings that mock the excesses of high fashion and politics in Georgian Britain. There are several, as this, attributed to Matthew Darly. He and his wife Mary specialised in caricature, firstly concentrating on political satire in the politically unstable 1750’s and then later on the world of fashion.
These prints were primarily a source of amusement to the public of the time, but now give a fascinating insight into what was an increasingly fashion conscious society and its obsession with vanity. We can see the Georgian pre-occupation with the latest trends and the style of their French contemporaries.
Bute Archive Mount Stuart
The Bute Collection contains 25,000 rare books and artefacts in one of the UK’s foremost private collections. Housed in the magnificent Gothic revival mansion of Mount Stuart on the isle of Bute, it provides a glimpse into centuries of art and history reflecting the interests of successive generations of the Bute family. Visitors can view everything from works on theology and ornithology to porcelain and custom-made furniture. A recent find of global significance is a Shakespeare First Folio containing many of the Bard’s most familiar plays.