I wrote some time ago, over at The Hairpin, about a ladies’ fashion in the seventeenth century for wearing dresses that exposed the breasts. Browing the Library of Congress yesterday, I found this:
The cartoon is by artist Richard Newton, who died at 21 in 1798, a full hundred years after this fashion took London by storm. The lorgnette-bearing gent’s leer, alongside the excited caption (complete with exclamation point!) suggests to me that by this time, the seventeenth century had been rejected for its libertine excesses, and that this fashion had come to be regarded with the puritanical (and seamy) astonishment we feel for it, e’en now.