Arm and a leg

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Mark Shaw

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Mar 28, 2022, 9:36:17 PMMar 28
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Saw this one elseforum today. I dimly recall it from the Before
Time, but my googlegroup-fu seems to be weak.

Supposedly, when you sat for a portrait, there was a base fee and
a surcharge per limb. And that's why some historical figures are
pictured with an arm behind their back.

Anyone else?

--
Mark Shaw moc TOD liamg TA wahsnm
========================================================================
"All of my mistakes are giving me ideas." - Natalie Lileks

Don Freeman

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Mar 30, 2022, 1:23:20 PMMar 30
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On 3/28/2022 7:36 PM, Mark Shaw wrote:
> Saw this one elseforum today. I dimly recall it from the Before
> Time, but my googlegroup-fu seems to be weak.
>
> Supposedly, when you sat for a portrait, there was a base fee and
> a surcharge per limb. And that's why some historical figures are
> pictured with an arm behind their back.
>
> Anyone else?
>

Not only that, but it has been attributed (incorrectly) as the basis for
the term "cost an arm and a leg".

From:
<https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/arm-and-a-leg.html>

"'It cost and arm and a leg' is one of those phrases that rank high in
the 'I know where that comes from' stories told at the local pub. In
this case the tale is that portrait painters used to charge more for
larger paintings and that a head and shoulders painting was the cheapest
option, followed in price by one which included arms and finally the top
of the range 'legs and all' portrait. As so often with popular
etymologies, there's no truth in that story. Painters certainly did
charge more for large pictures, but there's no evidence to suggest they
did so by limb count. In any case the phrase is much more recent than
the painting origin would suggest."

--
Don Freeman
www.cosmoslair.com

Mark Shaw

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Mar 30, 2022, 2:10:23 PMMar 30
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Don Freeman <D...@cosmoslair.com> wrote:
> On 3/28/2022 7:36 PM, Mark Shaw wrote:

> > Saw this one elseforum today. I dimly recall it from the Before
> > Time, but my googlegroup-fu seems to be weak.
> >
> > Supposedly, when you sat for a portrait, there was a base fee and
> > a surcharge per limb. And that's why some historical figures are
> > pictured with an arm behind their back.
> >
> > Anyone else?

> Not only that, but it has been attributed (incorrectly) as the basis for
> the term "cost an arm and a leg".

> From:
> <https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/arm-and-a-leg.html>

Thanks. This is, indeed, the very thing I was asking about - not
that I was at all clear about that.
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