Ordinary Individuals (The 1830s)

Figure 1.--This miniture of an English boy was painted by Edwin Dalton Smith in 1834. He looks to be wearing a olive green velvet dress with a low neckline. Note that even though he has not been breeched that he does have a short hair cut.

The 1830s was the last decade in which we had to rely on paintings and illustratuins. Photograph appeared iat the end of the decade, but are very rare. We notice several portaits of younger boys wearing dresses which look essentially the same as the dresses younger girls would have worn. We see somewhat older school-age boys wearing tunics with large collars and bows. We also notice military styled caps with tassles.

Hardcastle, John (England, about 1830)

This is a photograph of a painting of John Hardcastle, presumably the family patriarch, when he was a child. At the time of the 1881 census John Hardcastle was 59 years old and retired from his occupation of 'Merchant'. He looks to be about 8 years old in the painting which would date it around 1830, he was born in Abingdon, now in Oxfordshire but formerly the county town of Berkshire. He is wearing a what appears to be akeleron suit that is evolving into a moder modern suit style. Is is difficult to tell from the image if he is wearing a vest (waistcoat) or ome kind of one-oiece vest-trouser garmnt. He has a kind of square lace collar which he wears with a small bow. He looks to be about 6 years old in the portrait shown here. His hair is cut relatively short here. Notice the hoop that he is playing with a hoop.

Unidentified Boy (England, 1834)

This English boy was painted by Edwin Dalton Smith. The portrait is signed and dated in 1834. Unfortunately we do not know the boy's identity, but he clearly came from a well-to-do family. He looks to be about 6 years old to HBC. A HBC reader suggests, "I think in the 1800s children were smaller than they are these days. He could be 6 or 7 years old." The gallery offering this painting though that he was older and suggested 10 years, but HBC thinks this unlikely as he appears to still be wearing a dress. While some boys in the early 19th century might still werar dresses, especially boys from wealthy families, HBC thinks this boy was younger. He is posed with his pet dog. He looks to be wearing an olive green velvet dress with a low neckline and slightly puffed sleeves. There is a trace of a white undershirt of some kind. While the boy is not yet breeched, he does have a short hair cut.

Unidentified Boy (England , 1836)

Here we see an unidentified water color. Unfortunately both the artist and subject are unidentified. We do know that it was painted in 1836 which is helpful. The boy wears a low-cut blue dress with lace edgeing and ballon sleeves. He also wears white patalettes, white socks, and strap shoes. The biy looks to be about 5-6 years old. While the child is unidentified, the short hair and side part, whip, and stick horse all suggest a boy to us. Note that the dress here is just the same style a girl might wear, although a girl might wear fancier pantalettes.

Lacey, Pierrepont Edward (United States, 1936)

North painted Pierrepont Edward Lacey and his dog, Gun in 1836. The boys wears an elaborately frilled collar. The black suit does not show well on the black background, but Edward appears to be wearing a tunic with button detailing. Note the puff sleeves. He is wearing his tunic with matching long black trousers. His bright red shoes which appear to be pumps are destinct. The age of the children is difficult to estimate in primative paintings. The dog looks like a boxer. Using this as a size reference, the boy is probably 6-7 years old, but that is only a rough guess.

Norton, Charles (United States, about 1837)

This is a portrait of Charles Norton (1822- ). He was the son of Myron Norton and [Caroline?] Marsh Norton. The subject is painted bust-length turned slightly to the left, wearing a black suit with brass buttons, black stock, and flowered white vest. His hair as was common in the nid-19th century partially covers his ears. He is seated on a red upholstered chair. Oil on canvas. He looks to be a teenager about 15-17 years old. The portrait was probably painted around 1837.

Scowcroft, Jethro (England, 1829-1880)

This is a wonderful folky watercolour portrait of a boy standing on the seashore. He is wearing a black tunic with a broad belt at the waist and a deep white collar tied with a blue ribbon, over trousers. He's holding a large peaked hat. His costume is truly typical of the 1830s.There is a family tree inscription on the reverse of the portrait that identifies the child as Jethro Scowcroft (1829-1880), son of Thomas Scowcroft. Jethro was may be about 7 or 8 years old when this portrait was painted, but probably less than 10 years. The portrait is watercolor on card.

Eastman, Octavius (United States, 1833-37)

We notice a brown tunic suit worn by a 4-year old brown tunic suit. As this item was donated to the Wisonsin Historical Museum, we even know who wore it. The boy was Octavius Eastman (1833-1837) of Landaff, New Hampshire, now known as Landaff Center. Octavius was born March 2, 1833 in Landaff. His father was Samuel Eastman (1789-1858) and Mary Pell (1796-1860). They married on May 11, 1831. Octavius died on March 27, 1837. The Eastman family several years later moved to Spring Prairie, Wisconsin (1844). They took Octavius' tunic suit with them. We suspect they traveled via the Erie Canal.

Alfred Fuller (England, about 1836)

Here we see a water color painting of Alfred Fuller, an English boy. He was 4 years old when the portrait was painted. We know nothing about his family, but surely he must come from a very affluent family. We do not know who the artist was. We do know that it was painted in 1836 which is helpful. The boy wears a low-cut blue dress with lace edgeing and ballon sleeves. We have noted other paintings of boys wearing dresses with baloon sleeves, but the baloon sleeves here are as about as large as we have noted. I believe these sleeves were also called gigot or leg-of-mutton sleeves. The boy here also wears white patalettes, white socks, and strap shoes. The boy looks to be about 5-6 years old, but estimating ages is often more difficult in paintings than in photographs. While the child is unidentified, the short hair and side part, whip, and stick horse all suggest a boy to us. Note that the dress here is just the same style a girl might wear, although a girl might wear fancier pantalettes. Once source writes, "Adults and other children would also have been able to distinguish boys from girls quite easily: they knew how to read the clues. In 1836, if Alfred Fuller had been a girl, he would probably have had long hair dressed in ringlets and worn a white dress in a more modest style with less flamboyant sleeves. And a whip and a hobby horse would be most unusual toys for a girl. Boys' dresses were often made in brighter or darker colours than those for girls, in plainer or stronger fabrics. They might have chunky belts and trimmings and large metallic buttons which were not typical of girls' dresses. They also tended to be more tailored in appearance, and sometimes had features associated only with boys' clothing, such as the opening down the front of the skirt which had been fashionable in the 1810s and 1820s." [Children's Museum] There are a range of reasons for these differences. Netalic buttons, for example, were a popular military style that would have been seen as more appropriate for boys. Readers can surveys girls dress styles during the 1830s at the HGc 1830s page.

Unidentified Boy (United States, about 1836)

Here we see a naive portrait of an unidentified boy about 1836. We know nothing about the boy, but presumably he camf from the Northeast which is where artist Ammi Phillips lived and worked. The boy looks to about 8-9 years old. Art historians describe the portrait as "Blond Boy with Primer, Peach, and Dog". The boy seems to be wearing what might be called a tunic suit. It has a high belted waiskine. It is a black outfit, perhaps velvet. There is an open collar, rather more open than we usually see in any garment other than a dress. We don't recall seeimg a tunicwith such n open neckline. It is decorated bya lind of rulle or ruff aboynd the neckline. He has matching long pants wotn with wike socks and open-front low-cut shoes which woul have been for indoors war.

Manly, William Henry Manly (England, 1837)

Here we have an oil painting on canvas of a boy, having a landscape background typical of the old Georgian portraits. The portrait was painted in 1837 by an unknown artist. We have no idea who the artist is, but he was quite competent. Some one has written posibly 1897 on the back, but the collar to us seems more typical of the 1830s. It bears an inscription verso which identifies the subject as William Henry Manley as a boy aged 9 years. Unfortunately we have no idea where William lived in England. It is framed in an old gilt wood frame with velvet trim. It is alovely portrait, but unfortunately is primarily a bust image. It provides only limited information about clothing. It does, however, show William's hair style and collar in detail. We think William may have been wearing a bow, but it is difficult to tell for sure. Despite the age of the Painting, William's hair style looks very modern.

Hardwick, Thomas (United States, about 1836-50)

Thomas is named on the reverse of the wonderful silhouette as Thomas Hardwick (the brother of Mrs Fanny Upton). Thomas is an American boy, although we do not know where in America he is from. He looks to be wearing a dress with with a cape and large white collar. He was probably about 5 years old when the silhouette was made which would date it to about 1840-41. It seems poor Thomas died at school in Roundhay, Leeds in 1850 when he was just 14 years old.

Turner, Ambrose (England, about 1839)

Ambrose Turner was an English boy born in November 1835. He was the youngest son in the family. We believe that the Turner family was an affluent family, but have no specific detais. We do not know much about him at this time. He died in 1910. ll that we know about how Ambrose was dressed as a boy is a combination underwear garment his mother Ann Turner made for him when he was about 4 years old in 1939 or 40. Unfortunately we do not have a portrait of Ambrose. Photography was not yet a viable commercial process. As far as we know no painted portrait exists. Thus we do not know know how Ambrose was dressed. A age 4 he might not have been breeched and may have still worn dresses. Or he might have worn a skeleton suit or though in 1840 they were going out of style. The low neck-line suggests to us that this combination outfit was worn with dresses, but we do not know enough about early and mid-19th century underwear to be sure about this.

Ross Children (United States, 1839)

Here we see the children of C. Ross in a portrait done by James Green in 1839. Unfortunastely we do not know where they were from. Both children wear low-cut dresses, but we think that they may be boys. Little boys and and girls commonly wore identical dresses in the early 19th century and here the hair styles and the bazll the yiounger boy is holding suggest boys.

Francis Thomas Sully Darley (United States, 1834?-1914)

In a famous painting by his granddather we see Francis Thomas Sully Darley (1834?-1914) in 1839. He he camne from a very fashionable, artistic Philadelphia family. Philadelphia t the time was the richest and most fashionable city in America. Frances grew up to follow his father's profession and became a noted organist. Francis wears an open neck blouse rather like Byron and the image has a Greek look to it--even without the Greek planter. I am not sure how common this was at the time. The tunic and long trousers probably was more common. Notice the boy's ringlets. We don't think they were very common for a boy Francis' age, but remember he came from a well-to-do, stylish Philadelphia family. Internet images of paintings can vary in color. We have seen scans showing a much brighter green.

Unidentified Boy (United States, 1830s)

We have a minature pendant that we believe was painted in the 1830s. We are not entirely sure about tghe datring and welciome reader assessments. Note the large pointed collar. Unfortunately we do not know this boy's name or have and provinance for the pendent.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site Related Pages:
[Return to the Main 1830s chronology]
[Dresses] [Tunics] [Suit jackets] [Blouses] [Ruffled collars] [Trousers and pants] [Pantalettes]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main individual biography 19th century chronology page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Essays] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 2:33 AM 1/18/2008
Last updated: 4:32 AM 2/24/2012