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Woman reclining on a beach

Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and the changing status of women in the 1920s

? Sigismund Goetze (1866-1939)

My Dear Lady Betty c.1923

RCIN 927030

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Among several works inspired by paintings of women from the eighteenth century is this charming watercolour recalling the portraits of Thomas Gainsborough. It was probably inspired by Hugh Kelly’s theatrical comedy of 1768, False Delicacy, in which Lady Betty Lambton’s shyness and delicacy inhibit her admission of love for Lord Windworth. It is a variation on the Dolls’ House portraits of women as embodiments of sweetness or of rustic simplicity, linked visually to the others by Lady Betty’s bonnet and blue ribbons.