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"Following the Fashion" a December 1794 caricature by James Gillray, which satirizes incipient neo-Classical trends in women's clothing styles, particularly the trend towards what were known at the time as "short-bodied gowns" (i.e. short-bodiced or high-waisted dresses). This caricature satirizes the figure-type which is most flattered by high-waisted dresses, contrasting it with a body-type which was not flattered by the style -- as well as playing on the perennial struggle between attempts of the "Cits" (families of rich merchants in the City of London area) to imitate the stylish aristocrats of west London, versus the determination of the aristocrats to socially repulse the Cits, and consider them to be still unstylish.

Text in image:

  • "St. James's giving the Ton: a soul without a body" [i.e. bodice]
  • "Cheapside aping the mode: a body without a soul."

St. James refers to the area of London of that name, and "giving the Ton" means setting the aristocratic style.

Cheapside was an area of the merchant district with a particularly lowly reputation.

Edited from image on the Library of Congress website.

Bibliographic information found on the LoC site:

TITLE: Following the fashion / Js. Gy. desn. et fect.

CALL NUMBER: PC 1 - 8568 (A size) [P&P]

REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZC4-6231 (colour film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-121380 (b&w film copy neg.) No known restrictions on publication.

SUMMARY: Two women, one tall and pretty and slim, the other short and fat, wear burlesqued versions of the new fashions. Under each is a supplementary title: (left) St. James's giving the Ton, a soul without a body; (right) Cheapside aping the mode, a body without a soul.

MEDIUM: 1 print : etching, hand-colored.

CREATED/PUBLISHED: [London] : Pubd. by H. Humphrey, 1794 Decr. 9th.

CREATOR: Gillray, James, 1756-1815, artist.

NOTES: British Cartoon Collection (Library of Congress). Catalogue of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires, v. 7, no. 8568.


  • Women--Clothing & dress--Great Britain--1790-1800.

FORMAT: Cartoons (Commentary) British 1790-1800. Etchings Hand-colored 1790-1800.

REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

DIGITAL ID: (colour film copy transparency) cph 3g06231 (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c21380

CARD #: 99401787


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