SIA round-up: Dido Belle portrait

Time for the Style Imitating Art (SIA) round-up of sartorial inspiration!

SIA inspiration:

I chose the double portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, circa 1779, once attributed to Johann Zoffany. (The actual painter is still unknown.) This was the portrait that inspired the 2013 film, Belle, about the real-life, mixed-race young lady, Dido Belle, who was born into slavery in the British West Indies and ended up a heiress in London, England. The painting was commissioned by Lord Mansfield (William Murray), and depicts both of his great-nieces, Lady Elizabeth Murray and Dido Belle. The two ladies were second cousins. You can read more about the painting here, in this article about how this enigmatic painting inspired a movie, and more here about the real-life Dido Belle.

Portrait of Dido Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, circa 1779 (public domain)

Portrait of Dido Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, circa 1779 (public domain)

Lots of scope here for sartorial inspiration, including different textures and patterns (lace, satin, tulle, floral, pearls, feathers) colors (white, pink, green, black, turquoise), and potential props (flowers, book, bench, turban). Let’s see what y’all were inspired by!


First up is Mike from Post Card Purposes, who’s back in the SIA action after a bit of a break. Welcome back, Mike! I love that he mixed it up for this challenge, snapping photos in front of a cluster of bushes that totally echo the trees in the painting, as does the color of his shirt. And Mike’s mischievous smile in the close-up photo is totally on point. Well done!

Mike's SIA outfit

Kezzie from Kezzie AG rescued this white cardigan from her bag of soon-to-be-donated clothing to wear for this SIA challenge. I agree with Kezzie, it is absolutely perfect, with its details of pearls, flowers, lace applique. She layered the cardigan over a lace-patterned, collared top and black trousers. Plus, Kezzie wore her wedding earrings, pearls with flower-shaped crystals. So lovely!

Kezzie's SIA outfit

SIA co-host Erin from Loop Looks incorporated the blue, green, and blush tones from the painting into her outfit. Her gorgeous blush velvet flats are new — or rather, new-to-her, as she recently scored them at a clothing swap! Fantastic find! I also loved how Erin described why Chewie joined her for the photo:

It’s a painting of two friends so of course I needed my friend with me!

How sweet is that?! ♥

Erin's SIA outfit

SIA co-founder Salazar from 14 Shades of Grey asked for my SIA pick early, so that she could pack an SIA inspiration outfit on her travels. That is dedication!

And Salazar, along with her friend, turned it OUT for this challenge. I am so in love with their photo, which they took at their casa in Trinidad, Cuba. They recreated the painting SO WELL, including the backdrop, the poses, the props, and of course, the wonderful outfits. The deep pink of Salazar’s dress is such a lovely, flattering color. (I may be biased.) You can see more photos of Salazar’s outfit — and travels! — on this blog post.

Salazar's SIA submission

Finally, here’s my inspiration, and you can see more details and close-ups on Monday’s post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Velvet blazer + floral dress, SIA-inspired outfit

Thanks you so much, ladies and gent, for participating in this AWESOME round-up! I was so impressed by all the inventive outfits and poses and photo backdrops. So much fun and creativity on display, which is what SIA is all about!

The next Style Imitating Art challenge will be announced this next Monday. In the meantime, check out my fellow SIA co-hosts, Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey and Erin @ Loop Looks.


8 thoughts on “SIA round-up: Dido Belle portrait

  1. Kezzie

    Oh I really liked these! I agree with what Erin said above- really nice to see the different elements incorporated. Your outfit was perfection Jen especially with the white feather upon the beret (I discovered I had something similar the night before when I was looking for something for myWorld Book Day costume so I might nick that idea another time!
    Erin’s photo with Chewy is really endearing. So nice to see Mike again- great pose! Salazar and your friend, you look great!

  2. Mike

    Hey, awesome job everyone! It’s great to be a part of SIA again! And thanks for the welcome back, Jen!
    I think that all of us captured the interpretation of this painting superbly. And I like how Salazar and her friend imitated Elizabeth’s and Dido’s poses. Very cute! 🙂


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