Exhibition: In search of Sophia



Sophia choose to wear a robe à la française for her protrait. This sack-back gown was very fashionable among the women's of the 18th century. Although it belonged to the informal style in the beginning, by the 1770s it became a formal piece, second only to court dress in its formality.
Among the particularities of the gown were the box pleats at the back (which fell loose from the shoulder to the floor with a slight train), the elbow-length sleeves worn with separate frills and laces called engageantes and trimmed ruffles. In front, the gown was open, revealing a decorative stomacher and petticoat.
Under the influence of the French court, in the early 18th century, black silk hoods and dark, somber colors became fashionable for mature women while younger women wore solid-colored silks with a minimum of ornamentation.
Gradually, decorative ribbon bows and lacing replaced the plain style.
Women's clothing styles maintained an emphasis on the conical shape of the torso while the shape of the skirts changed throughout the period. The wide panniers, holding the skirts out at the side, disappeared by 1780, being kept only for the most formal court functions.
As a middle-aged woman, Sophia is represented in her portrait with a dress made of red silk but in a dark shade. Although discrete, the decorative elements are consistent with the trend of the time: ruffles trimmed with brown ribbon and adorned with needle-lace.

The Girandole earrings were first seen in Europe by the middle of the 17th century and remained in style throughout the 18th century.
They consisted of an upper main piece which had attached to it with a hook three pear-like drops. The hook allowed the drops to be detached, so that the central piece could be worn on its own according to the occasion.
The use of stones reveals the country of origin for the Girandole earrings: diamonds in France, emeralds and diamonds in Spain, topazes and chrysoberyls in Portugal; in the Adriatic region and especially Southern Italy they were made of pearls.
Sophia’s choice of jewelry for her portrait was pearls: Italian Girandole earrings and a multi-strand necklace (6 strands in the horizontal and 5 in the vertical piece).
Other portraits of Transylvanian patriciate show that the design of the necklace was relatively common in early 18th century. Also taking into account the fact that Daniel Klockner von Klocknern – Sophia’s father was known to have been travelled in Italy, one can consider the jewelry Sophia wears in the portrait as part of her family inheritance.