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Barbara Bodichon, Effects of Tight Lacing, c. 1858

Researched by: Olivia Sims

Bodichon’s lithograph depicts an artful grouping of figures that are all varying in scale and appearance, including women in differing forms of dress- with some wearing corsets and some not- along with skeletons, depictions of Greco-Roman sculptures, and female anatomical figures in a cloudy, dreamlike setting. The work has no color as it is a lithograph intended to be
printed in a journal, but Bodichon creates a distinct contrast of light and dark by utilizing hashing techniques and a range a line width. Her use of line found in the floral accents, cloud masses, and text bubbles directs the viewer across the page to visual “stops” of figural groups. There is an overriding sense of crowdedness because of the vast quantity of figures and imagery that spans
the width and (most of) the length of the page. The figures are spread out on the page as if they are floating in the clouds and there are multiple interactions taking place within these figural groupings. The lithograph also portrays skull and cross-bone and floral imagery along with various groupings of text. The imagery and text are found floating in space around the figures. The text at the bottom serves as a dedication to Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and states its publication at the office of the English Women’s Journal.

For more information and to see Olivia’s entire research paper, click here:

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