The Bridesmaids. Artist: Robert Dudley. Drawn and lithographed by Dudley, with assistance from Day's technicians. Chromolithograph, 11 ¾ x 16 ½ inches. An illustration for W. H. Russell'sA Memorial of the Marriage of H.R.H. Albert Prince of Wales and H.R.H. Alexandra of Denmark (London: Day, 1864).

Dudley's image of aristocratic beauty is an interesting version of Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics in which the women are virtually identical – like the same person represented from different angles (a device used by Dante Gabriel Rossetti). Treated strictly as things, the figures reflect tellingly on notions of beauty and expectations of femininity, here classically (and literally) objectified so that they look like mannequins or porcelain ornaments, rather than flesh and blood. Dudley specialized in the representation of applied art, and his group portraits sometimes seem curiously lifeless.

Image capture and text by Simon Cooke; reproduced with permission of The National Portrait Gallery, London. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print

Last modified 18 November 2013