Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paint Your Family in Ultramarine and Carmine

So I guess I'm on a roll lately of finding little anecdotes that remind me of Gone with the Wind in dusty, old very fascinating books. But sometimes things just seem to pop out  and shout, "Is that you, Scarlett O'Hara?". As a result, I have another small morsel to share that reminded me of our favorite green-eyed heroine. 

It comes to you from an article titled The Use and Abuse of Colors in Dress, written by one Mrs. Merrifield in the August 1861 edition of Peterson's Magazine. We'll likely return to this article in greater depth at some point, as its writer, dear Mrs. Merrifield, goes on a pretty entertaining Mrs. Merriwether-style lecture about the vulgarity of certain colors and the general lack of sartorial taste demonstrated by ladies of the period. But for now, I must apologize for the short post and instead just leave you with a little excerpt from Mrs. Merriwether Merrifield that made me think of Scarlett in "interior decorating mode" for the lavish Butler Mansion:
"There is one class of persons, possessed of more money than taste, who estimate colors by their cost only, and will purchase the most expensive merely because they are expensive and fashionable. Of this class was a certain lady, of whom it is related that, in reply to Sir Joshua Reynold's inquiry as to what color the dress of herself and husband, who were then sitting, should be painted, asked which were the most expensive colors? 'Carmine and ultramarine,' replied the artist. 'Then,' rejoined the lady, 'paint me in ultramarine and my husband in carmine!'"  
--Excerpted from Peterson's Magazine, August 1861
While Scarlett wouldn't have been able to procure the services of the long-deceased Sir Joshua Reynold, an 18th century English painter, I'm sure she'd no doubt appreciate her wealthy predecessor's extravagant taste in color selection.  Oh, what I wouldn't give to see a painting of the Butlers decked out in ultramarine and carmine garments!

Update: Oh joy, Scarlett seems to come close to that color already. Now, if only someone would photoshop a Clark Gable dressed in carmine in that painting...


  1. I'm sure Scarlett owned more than one ultramarine dress in her lifetime.

  2. This immediately brings to mind Scarlett's portrait, the one Rhett throws his glass at (how I HATE that scene!)--isn't her dress ultramarine in that one? Perhaps we could add the picture. Iso already knows this and the rest of the internet is about to find out, but I am basically color blind. Or at least nuance blind. Ultramarine, cobalt, navy--it's all blue to me, so that dress' color might not be what I claim it is.


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