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Exhibit Catalog to the Morris County Historical Society's "Out of the Closet" Exhibition

Victorian Girl

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Click picture to enlarge

Artist unknown
Victorian Girl
Circa 19th century
Marble sculpture
18 in. (with base)

The Victorian Idealization of Little Girls

 

This bust of a young cherub-faced girl, complete with bonnet and bow, typifies the ideal Victorian girl. During the Victorian age, prints of photographs were being purchased at a ferocious rate. Images of dolled-up, dainty little girls and mischievous young boys were two of the ideal middle-class archetypes being photographed, reproduced, and disseminated throughout Victorian households.

 

The modern viewer may find it odd that the ideal Victorian girl is supposed to be demure, full of "womanly virtue," and is seen as the "mother surrogate" when interacting with her friends, while the ideal adult Victorian woman is supposed to be innocent and regress back to a sort of girlishness.

 

Victorians (particularly middle - and upper-class Victorians) considered children to be innocent and childhood to be a sort of golden period of their lives before they had to face the hardships of adulthood. Because of this changing view on childhood, images of children went from representations of miniaturized adults to those of realistically-portrayed children in the prime of youth.