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Dummy Board of a Girl in Costume of the William and Mary Period
Wooden painted screen dating from around 1689-1702. Dummy boards were usually placed in empty spaces, such as a staircase or empty fireplace, in large houses. They may have been amusement pieces, created to trick the eye into thinking the painted boards were real people. This kind of painting, known as trompe l'oeil, was very popular at the time. The girl is pictured wearing fashion typical of the period including a long gown with sleeves to the elbow to show an under-sleeve of white lace and a black silk pinner (apron). Her hair is worn high with a frontage headdress. She is carrying a spaniel on one arm and holding a black mask in her other hand. These masks were sometimes worn by women when walking or riding outdoors to protect the face from sunburn. During this period it was fashionable to have pale skin.
© RIC, photographer Mike Searle