Art Friday: Vintage mothers

by P B Hickling
Mothers are very busy people; they wash, cook, clean, comfort, teach, shop, garden, sew, play, read, volunteer, work outside the home, love and cry, sing and dance and everything in-between.

Todays paintings are all about "Vintage mothers" - mothers in the past.  Not a grumpy face to be found - advertisers certainly knew how to create the "happy ideal" mother, one who loved her job. I don't say this with sarcasm, the truth is, many mothers didn't live like this at all. This is a very middle-class construct of a world that only some mothers enjoyed. These mothers are beautifully dressed, lived in beautiful houses, full of wonderful new gadgets and had well behaved children (and pets). They all knew how to cook and I doubt these mothers burnt anything in the oven!!

I wonder what I will make!
And it works every time - she has a lot of things happening in that oven.
I have never looked at my glasses to closely!
No, not me - I have never got excited about cleaning the bathroom. 
I am never that well dressed when preparing meals and I don't usually wear my pearls around the house!
This was the age of the supermarket and the beginning of "packaged food". Women wanted to serve up "perfect" meals (in particular desserts) and not always able to make the dishes themselves, food manufacturers saw the opportunity to make these "perfect dishes"! It gave the impression that mum had been busy cooking, when in reality, she had popped down to the supermarket. 

Crochet aprons for mothers and daughters and even the doll. You would hate to get these dirty, they do seem a little impractical.
This is a lovely 1950s dress - perhaps not in green or strips!
This one is funny - mum can listen to music as she prepares the Christmas dinner!! I first iPod!!


  1. I found this post extremely amusing. Loved your comments!! :D
    In the second pic... who seriously has all their food displayed on their pantry shelves????!
    The fourth pic - with all those different foods in the oven - how amazing! I've never been able to make so many different foods so perfectly all at once in MY oven!!! ;)
    The clean bathroom pic - I have to say, when my bathroom is clean, I do feel very accomplished.... but THAT excited??!? Haha!!!
    Maybe the lady with the pearls is having guests come over to visit soon?? ;)
    As for the packaged food - I wonder if anyone realised that going through a supermarket to buy all those foods and stand in line to buy them and taking them home and usually still do *something* to prepare them probably takes as much time, sometimes longer, than just throwing everything together from scratch?!? :P
    I like the little girl in the mirror with her mother and doll - that's a really cute one. :) And the green matching dresses and scarfs is a very pretty dress.
    The music one just makes me laugh... And the second last one just makes me think... who really has everything so perfect, from the kitchen to their child, their clothes, hair, food...???!! Ha!
    This was great, Jo. Fun!

    1. Clara, I'll tell you who has their kitchen, selves and kids so perfect - ladies in vintage advertisements. :-) The ideal home was a great drawing factor then and anything to make that happen just might be worth the money. :-) I'm guessing a lot of these came from advertisements.

  2. I do wonder how different "real" women looked compared to the "artificial" world that marketers created. I am sure women didn't fill their ovens with that much food or keep spotless bathrooms all the time!!

    However, when I was young I do remember seeing kitchens as in the 2nd last picture. I think women were taught to cook "neatly" and not create lots of mess and they certainly didn't generally have piles of dirty dishes sitting around. Times have change, for the better?!

  3. What beautiful pictures just love them, dont they look just picture perfect lol x

    1. They certainly do - something for us all to aim for!!!!

      Have a lovely weekend.

  4. What a neat collection of vintage pictures. I really enjoyed this! And your comments. The music cart in the kitchen is pretty funny. Looks kind of awkward to work around.

    But, to me the neatest part is all the aprons. :-) You know I have a "weakness" for aprons. I think those frilly crocheted aprons would probably be "hostess aprons" and weren't intended for heavy duty. It's my understanding that these frilly, fluffy types were worn at parties and dinners by the hostess as a sort of fashion statement. I had one I played with when I was a kid that was a sheer light green. It wasn't the kind you'd wear for real work. My favorite in this group is the red one in the yellow kitchen where the lady is posing with her cook book. :-)


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