Silhouette of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice


For my COVE case, I decided to make a silhouette of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. While reading the novel, Elizabeth Bennet as a character caught my eye, particularly the scene where she walks three miles in the rain and mud to see her sick sister. In the Regency era, it was very important for women to look presentable whenever they were in public, but this scene shows how little Elizabeth cared about her appearance when it came to family. This also portrays the strong theme of sisterhood shown throughout many Jane Austen novels. For my silhouette, I wanted to show how Elizabeth, while still trying to look proper, is dirty, and her bonnet is covered with mud. I think that my silhouette fits the theme of my case because silhouettes in the Regency times usually are designed very delicately with lace and nice patterns, but I covered mine with brown paint to symbolize mud, which gives the same effect as how the public sees Elizabeth Bennet when she shows up to see her sister covered in mud. I chose to reference the film versions of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice is because I have a love for film as a medium. I think that the film perfectly represents Elizabeth's carelessness when it comes to how she looks. 

Silhouette of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, crafted by Shelby Eroen, 2023. This is a silhoutte of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1813). The portrait is of a woman who has messy hair and a bonnet covered in dirt. Genteel women during the Regency era were supposed to look their very best whenever they were seen in public, but in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth finds out her sister is ill, she races for miles to see her sister in Netherfield Park and shows up covered in dirt with messy hair. After seeing Elizabeth arrive, Miss Bingley says in Pride and Prejudice: “I could hardly keep my countenance. Very nonsensical to come at all! Why must she be scampering about the country, because her sister had a cold? Her hair so untidy, so blowzy!” (46). 

Crafting Process of Elizabeth Bennet Portrait, Photo taken by Catherine Golden, 2023. For this project, I started by finding a portrait picture of a woman with messy hair on the internet, and in the IdeaLab I transfered the picture into an application called Silhouette Studio. I used black vinyl and a silhouette machine in order to create the silhouette. Photographed is the black vinyl on a sticky purple board that is about to go through the machine in order to trace the portrait I had selected for my project. 

Crafting Process of Elizabeth Bennet Portrait, Photo taken by Catherine Golden, 2023. This photograph portrays transferring the black vinyl onto the painted wooden circle using transfer paper. After the vinyl was successfully transfered onto the frame, I glued a white fabric for the bonnet and painted over the bonnet with white paint. I tied a string into a bow and hot glued it onto the frame as well to make it look like the ties of her bonnet. Then, I used a sponge brush to tap on some brown paint onto the bonnet to make it look like dirt that covered Elizabeth on her walk from Longbourn to Netherfield Park. 

Robert Z. Leonard, Pride and Prejudice, 1940. This picture shows Robert Z. Leonard's 1940 rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth, portrayed by Greer Garson,  is checking her dirty clothes after walking miles in the rain to see her sister. This further shows how Elizabeth Bennet is portrayed as resilent against the standard at which women are held at that time.

Simon Langton, Pride and Prejudice, 1995. Figures 5 and 6 in my case show Jennifer Ehle portraying Elizabeth Bennet in Simon Langton's 1995 TV series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. This scene indicates Elizabeth Bennet walking to her sister Jane when she hears that she is sick. Elizabeth jumps into a pile of wet mud, but keeps on walking to see her sister. This scene portrays Elizabeth as a family-oriented, strong woman who does not pay any mind to standards for women at the time. She doesn't care that she doesn't look presentable when she arrives to visit Jane, but she only cares for her sisters' health. Figure 6 is a close up of the scene in which figure 5 takes place. Elizabeth Bennet jumps into mud after hopping over a fence, but keeps walking in order to see her sister. The muddiness represents her carelessness for how she presents herself when she is in distress over her sister's health.

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