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Eastman Johnson (1824-1906)
Hollyhocks, 1876
Oil on canvas on wood paneled stretcher
Harriet Russell Stanley Fund - 1946.7

This picturesque display of women in an enclosed garden tending hollyhocks shows a full range of fashionable styles. All the young women wear long-sleeved gowns with close-fitting bodices and gathered skirts with the fullness swept to the back. Even in the heat of the summer sun, the privacy of the gathering allows the women to abandon propriety and go bareheaded. While the women wear similar styles, they are set apart by their various accessories. One wears a small bag or chatelaine attached to her waist by a cord through which she has looped her skirt. Her appearance and the fact that she appears to be actually working in the garden rather than amusing herself, points to her lower position on the social scale. Only one young women wears jewelry, earrings and a necklace, perhaps establishing her high place in the hierarchy.