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Henry Inman (1801-1846)
Cornelia Rutgers Livingston, ca. 1833
Oil on canvas
John Butler Talcott Fund - 1952.30

This lovely portrait of Cornelia Rutgers Livingston shows a typical style for young children, who were frequently dressed in white cotton. Increased trade as well as a growing domestic cotton industry made the fiber more readily available. It was perfect for children because it was durable and washable. The high-waisted dress has a square yoke and small puffed sleeves trimmed with lace. Cornelia wears pantaloons trimmed with eyelet embroidery that matches the hem of the dress. Pantaloons were worn in place of petticoats. During the early years of the century, pantaloons were not visible, but as hems shortened they became part of the ensemble and were decorated to match the dress. By the end of the 1830s pantaloons or pantalettes, as they came to be known, were a widely accepted article of clothing. They were worn by girls, and boys between the ages of two and five years.