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"Merrymaking at a Wayside Inn", a watercolor by Pavel Petrovich Svinin of his trip to the United States in the early 1810s.

This depicts travellers grabbing a hurried and impromptu dance on the road in early 1810's America (in rural Pennsylvania in 1812?), and so shows practices which would have been considered inelegant or shockingly informal in many socially genteel circles in Europe at the time (such as smoking in the presence of ladies, smoking indoors, a man taking off his tailcoat in the presence of ladies -- leaving him wearing only his waistcoat and shirt on top -- and holding onto one's horsewhip while dancing). Only one of the women has bothered to take off her bonnet. One of the dancing men isn't wearing socks/stockings.

At left, a couple is indulging in what could be considered an inappropriate public display of affection by some European standards of etiquette, while at right a black fiddler provides the music for the dance. Wagons can be seen outside the door.

Pavel Petrovich Svinin was a Russian who visited the United States (as secretary to the Russian diplomatic representative) in the early 1810's, during which he painted a number of watercolors of life in America. Later he published the book Voyage Pittoresque Aux Etats-Unis de l'Amérique par Paul Svignine en 1811, 1812, et 1813.


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File name 1812-svinin-merrymaking-wayside-inn-usa.jpg
Size, Mbytes 0.593375976562
Mime type image/jpeg

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