Fashion advice for 1780's and 1820's to help identify father & son portraits

+5 votes
140 views
I need some fashion advice for late 17C and early 18C:  The clothing & hair style in the portrait attached to this gentleman's profile, born in 1795 (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bergh-193) seems to be out of sync for a man aged about 30+ in about 1825+. The image appears to represent fashion for the mid 1780's. I suspect this portrait belongs to his father's profile, born in 1758 and thus aged 30+ in late 1780's (portrait attached here https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bergh-49). I think that the portraits  (handed down in the family) on the father & son profiles should be switched around. Can anyone advise further...
WikiTree profile: William Ferdinand Bergh
in WikiTree Help by Anton Bergh G2G5 (5.3k points)

1 Answer

+5 votes
Hi Anton

The portrait currently attached to Bergh-193 when enlarged has anchors on the buttons and also in the embroidery on the collar of his coat and I'm not sure if this is just decoration or suggests some connection to a navy?

There is also an inscription which I can't read that well, but it looks like it has "en 1821" in the second line.  Though it is also possible the 2 is a fancy 0?

Otherwise I think it's difficult to definitely judge by the garments alone. The wig in the portrait is probably from an earlier period, but regardless of whether he is in the navy, it is a formal portrait where he is wearing what were probably his best clothes.  The style of cravat also indicates someone dressed for a formal occasion.

Also, with all apologies to South Africa, if the portrait was painted there, it is likely that older fashions were slower to die out and new fashions slower to be adopted.

The other portrait looks to have the sitter in a more relaxed pose and in less formal attire. It is also possibly a pencil sketch rather than a painting?

Do you know anything more about the images?  They don't appear to be framed, but presumably they were once?
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (482k points)
Thanks John; yes, I see the inscription. I think he was in the employ of the DEIC / VOC in the Cape of Good Hope. I think it's the artist Le Faveli (something like that) and I see the date, which looks like 1821. I think my sister has these; they are probably 12-15cm high and 10cm across, and are framed, but were removed from the framing for the photograph. I'll try to take another look at the originals. So this does suggest it is connected to the correct person.

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