Frances Hodgson Burnett, (November 24, 1849 - October 29, 1924) was an English-American playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular "The Secret Garden", "A Little Princess", and "Little Lord Fauntleroy".
Evan Lewis Martin was the son of Henry and Bette Hannah Martin of Pea Ridge (Benton County). He died at the age of 12 in 1910. In his death notice, the Rogers Democrat reported that Evan "loved music and was a fine singer for a child.”
Evan's linen suit with its ruffled collar is a variation of the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, a popular style of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Based on the clothing of the main character in the book Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886).
The Fauntleroy rage began in the 1880s and was wide spread during the 1990s. The popularity of the classic Fauntleroy suit continued through the turn of the century. Many boys who did not wear the actual style suit, wore suits with Fauntleroy elements such as a fancy blouse or floppy bow.
Thomas Gainsborough’s "fancy picture" The Blue Boy epitomizes the "Van Dyke". Until the onset of Romanticism towards the end of the 18th century, small children had been dressed as miniature versions of their elders.
The painting was one of many child pictures for which Millais had become well known in his later years. It was modelled by his five year old grandson William Milbourne and was based on 17th-century Dutch precursors in the tradition of vanitas imagery, which commented upon the transience of life. These sometimes depicted young boys blowing bubbles, typically set against skulls and other signs of death. The painting portrays a young golden-haired boy looking up at a bubble, symbolizing the beauty and fragility of life.
After revivals of the fad connected with a film by Mary Pickford, and the 1936 classic with Freddie Bartholomew. The onset of World War II consigned such outfits to attics.
"Little Lord Fauntleroy" is now most often used as a term of derision. It describes a pompous spoiled brat, usually a young male, who takes his wealth and privilege for granted (while this is obviously not consistent with the original character, it is inspired by the perceived self-righteousness of the little lord, and an assumed odiousness in his overweening goodness).