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Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

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The mirror of the graces; or, the English lady's costume: combining and harmonizing taste and judgment, elegance and grace, modesty, simplicity and economy, with fashion in dress; and adapting the various articles of female embellishments to different ages, forms, and complexions; to the seasons of the year, rank, and situation in life: with useful advice on female accomplishments, politeness, and manners; the cultivation of the mind and the disposition and carriage of the body: offering also the most efficacious means of preserving beauty, health, and loveliness. The whole according with the general principles of nature and rules of propriety
(1811)

On the female form,   pp. 26-41


Page 26


ON THE FEMALE FORM.
To preserve the health of the human form is
the first object of consideration. With its
health, we necessarily maintain its symmetry
and improve its beauty.
   The foundation of a just proportion in all
its pinrts must be laid in infancy. A light
dress, which gives freedom to the functions of
life and action, is the best adapted to permit
unobstructed growths; for thence the young
fibres, uninterrupted by obstacles of art, will
shoot harmoniously into the form which na-
ture drew. The garb of childhood should in
all respects be easy ; not to impede its move-
ments by ligatures on the chest, the loins, the
legs, or the arms. By this liberty, we shall see
the muscles of the limbs gradually assume the
fine swell and insertion which only unconstrain-
ed exercise can produce : the shape will sway
gracefully on the firmily poised waist; the
chest will rise in noble and healthy expanse;
and the human figure will start forward at the


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