Happy Rainy Saturday: Get Yer Banyan on – John Farr by Francois Xavier Vispre

Photo: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. WA1978.53. Pastel on vellum

I first experienced this image in Eighteenth Century Decoration by Charles Saumarez Smith, a book about interiors but full of wonderful images of dress. John Farr relaxes in his red slippers and riotously checked and striped banyan, lined with a spill of blue. He still wears his wig; he could easily throw on a coat and shoes if guests arrived. This pastel channels a perfect alternate activity for today’s unseasonal cold and rain.




About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.