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The Seamstress

"The Seamstress" is copyright    1998 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

Pen and ink, 11 x 6 inches, 1998
Collection of James Crawford & Judith Dean

No, that's not a rabbi. The sitter in this portrait is actually a bearded woman of indeterminate religious affiliation.

The idea for this piece — which is based on one of my favorite paintings, Jan Vermeer's The Lacemaker — came to me while reading an account of various bearded ladies of the Victorian era. In what I can only imagine was an effort to emphasize these ladies' femininity, promoters frequently referred to the hirsute performers' marvelous facility for embroidery and other needlecraft. On the other hand, their whiskers seemingly endowed them with manly strength enough to swing an ax and produce enormous quantities of firewood. Some may have seen this as combining the best of both worlds.




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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010