Summer 2021: Hot Wind

Charles Conder, an Australian impressionist, achieved something memorable in this 1899 depiction of hot dry summer on the beach. A year later he had left Australia for Europe, never to return.

Conder was part of the London Decadent group, did illustrations for The Yellow Book, knew everyone, but the most interesting of his works are not his paintings, but his fashion work, like this fan design, also from 1899

The aesthetic movement had a part to play in women’s fashion. The loose flowing garments of Pre-Raphaelite maidens echoed and inspired the “new reform” or “princess” style: loose, unstructured gowns, with full sleeves and often dramatic trains. Conder painted in watercolor on the long trains of these evening gowns, sometimes during parties. This is one of his designs,

Conder was a friend of Ernest Thesiger, who you will remember as Dr. Praetorius from The Bride of Frankenstein.

This is a still from the scene where he shows Victor Frankenstein his homunculi, explaining that ” I grew then as nature does, from seed.”

Thesiger too took a lively interest in fashion, and was a most accomplished embroiderer (he wrote a book called Adventures in Embroidery , regrettably now out of print). He enjoyed giving masquerade balls which he himself often attended in female attire. This is an invitation to one of his parties, designed by Conder. The text states, “Fancy Dress Party,” “Disguise Imperative!”

Scroll to Top