Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 Style of Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Louise de Keroualle (1649–1734), Duchess of Portsmouth

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

Style of Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Barbara Villiers (1640–1709), Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland as Shepherdess with a Lamb

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 After Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Eleanor 'Nell' Gwyn (Gwynne) (1651–1687) As Shepherdess with Lamb

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 After Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Eleanor 'Nell' Gwyn (1651–1687) As Shepherdess with Lamb

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1675 Style of Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Unknown woman, formerly identified as Eleanor ('Nell') Gwyn

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1665 Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Unknown woman, formerly known as Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess de Gramont
During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1660 Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Anne Crane Lady Belasyse as a Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1650-70s John Michael Wright (English artist, 1617-1694) Barbara Palmer (née Villiers), Duchess of Cleveland

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1681 attributed to Caspar Netscher (Dutch artist, 1639-1684) Lady with a Lamb

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1650 David Teniers the Younger (Flemish artist, 1610–1690) Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Longing for a couple of Soft, Docile17C-18C Gentlewomen Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1650 Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch artist, 1592–1656)  Two Ladies as Shepherdesses

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1630s Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) Lady as Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1630s Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) Lady as Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1630s Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) Lady as Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1630s Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) Lady as Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1630-50s Anonymous Dutch artist, after Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1630 Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) The beautiful shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1630 Claude Deruet (French artist, 1588–1660) Portrait of a Lady as a Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1630 Claude Deruet (French artist, 1588–1660) Duchesse de Monatusier as a Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1628 Unknown artist from the workshop of Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch artist, 1592–1656) Portrait of a Lady of the Court as a Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

 1625 Salomon de Bray (Dutch artist, 1597-1664)  A Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1624 Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) A Woman as Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1600s Unknown artist from the workshop of Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch artist, 1592–1656) Portrait of a Lady of the Court as a Shepherdess

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Longing for a Soft, Docile 17C-18C Gentlewoman Tending Sheep - Pastoral Allegories

1790s Thomas Barker of Bath (British artist, 1769-1847) (style of) A Shepherdess and Sheep

During the 17C & 18C artists painted their contemporaries as personifications & allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits. These paintings remained popular, as they expanded to show the wealthy sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. They grew to include portraits of a shepherdess in pastoral scenes wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women tending sheep.

Early portraits of women portrayed as shepherdesses were more seductive than those painted later.  The subject might be depicted with bare breasts showing, while wealthy, identified sitters would be painted in more traditional, conservative costumes.  The theme of the shepherdess was popular in 17C Dutch art, & it was not unusual for fashionable young women to have their likenesses rendered as such.  The shepherdess theme remained popular & expanded throughout the 18C on both sides of the Atlantic.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

1786 Unknown artist. John Coakley Lettsom (1733–1810), with His Family, in the Garden of Grove Hill, Camberwell.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Friday, September 28, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) The Schutz Family and their Friends on a Terrace

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) The Belton Conversation-Piece from Belton House

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) La Danse

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) Frederick Prince of Wales with his sisters in front of Kew Palace by Philip Mercier 1733.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Monday, September 24, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) Conversation Piece, or Lovers in a Park, c.1727  Syon House, Middlesex, UK

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Nathaniel Dance-Holland (English, 1735-1811) William Weddell, the Reverend William Palgrave, and Mr I'Anson in Rome

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Stephen Slaughter (1697-1765) The Betts Family c 1746

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Friday, September 21, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Nathaniel Dance-Holland (English, 1735-1811) The Pybus Family, 1769.  The picture represents John Pybus Senior (1727–1789), a retired East India Company servant, & his wife Martha, née Small, (1733–1802), with their children identified, from left to right as: Martha (1758–1788), Anne (1756–1791), John Junior (1754–1808), & Charles Small (1766–1810). The family is depicted full-length, exquisitely dressed in tones of pink & grey, in an idyllic English garden/landscape setting. The painting was brought to Australia in 1897 by descendants of the sitters and, from that point on, escaped the notice of scholars of both Nathaniel Dance & 18C British art.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Nathaniel Dance-Holland (English, 1735-1811) - James Grant of Grant, John Mytton, the Hon. Thomas Robinson, and Thomas Wynne.  c.1760 Conversation Piece painted in Rome.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art tells us in Richard Dorment's, British Painting in the Philadelphia Museum of Art: From the 17C through the 19C (1986), pp. 90-96, that a conversation piece is an informal group portrait, often depicting friends. This is one of 4 almost identical canvases painted in 1760–61, one for each of the 4 sitters. With the ruins of the Colosseum plainly visible in the background, the picture records the young men's trip to Rome. Known as the Grand Tour, such travel was a standard part of the education of 18C English gentlemen.

 A conversation piece is a portrait in which the sitters are show full length to a scale much smaller than life. A direct outgrowth of Dutch 17C domestic portraiture the genre became fashionable in England in the late 1720s & 1730s Dance was in part responsible for its revival in the 1760s, but with the difference that he specialized in showing English gentlemen at ease on the Grand Tour in Rome.  Although Dance's name was soon to become identified with this kind of souvenir of Italy, this painting was his 1st attempt at the genre. After his return to England in 1766, Dance never painted another conversation piece.

This picture is one of 4 almost identical canvases (Nathaniel Dance, A Conversation Piece, 1760  Cullen, Banffshire, the Earl of Seafield Collection & Nathaniel Dance, A Conversation Piece, 1760,  New Haven, Yale Center for British Art) 4 painted in 1760-61 for each of the 4 sitters. They are, from left to right, James Grant of Grant (1738-1811) dressed in a blue suit with silver trim; John Mytton (d. 1784) in a red coat with gold trim & black trousers; Hon.Thomas Robinson (1738-1786) in mauve with gold trim; & Thomas Wynn (1736-1807) in a green coat with gold trim & red trousers. They are shown in an imaginary landscape, with the ruins of the Colosseum behind them at the left, & at the right a large classical urn decorated with dancing female figures. Only Grant looks out at us; Mytton turns his head toward Grant but gestures with both hands toward the seated Robinson who, in turn, shows Wynn an elevation of the Temple of Jupiter Stator (Plate 51 of Giacomo Leoni’s edition of The Architecture of A.Palladio, vol. 4 {London, 1721}.

Thomas Robinson was an amateur architect & later a member of the Society of Dilettanti (elected 1763), as were Wynn (elected 1764) & Mytton (elected 1764).  Robinson set out for Italy on October 20, 1758, arriving in Turin on November 21. There he settled down for a year's study, of the Italian language under the guidance of a Signor Borra, who ''for near Eight months...never hardly missed spending two or three hours in the afternoon with me." In his frequent correspondence with his father, Sir Thomas Robinson, later 1st Lord Grantham, Robinson did not mention his future traveling companions until a letter from Turin dated March 30, 1759: "Mr. Grant is perhaps the only person...I should like to undertake the journey thro’ Italy with. Mr. Mytton & a younger son of Sir John Wynne's are just arrived." These three were spending the winter in Geneva, & since Robinson had been to Westminster School with Grant & Mytton, it was natural for him to travel to Switzerland in June of 1759 to meet them." As a result of this trip, he modified his traveling plans. This he explained to his father in a letter from Turin of August 18, 1759:  I have now settled something in regard to my progress into Italy & my manner of taking it. Nothing was fixed upon that head in Switzerland, as Mr. Wynne & Mr. Grant were of different Sentiments; the former being desirous of spending his Winter at Venice & the latter preferring Rome. I therefore thought proper on my return to this place to provide against all cases & make sure of an agreeable companion as far as Rome, & finding that my old Acquaintance Mr. Mytton was in the same Case, made Overtures to him & settled that we should go to Rome together at all Events; if our Geneva friends should separate, we agreed to take in the one that was to go our way, & if they intended both to go to Rome we determined to let them go some time before or after us as might be most agreeable to us all, for we propose meeting at last & being pretty much of the same turn in regard to our Love of Virtue, hope our Society at Rome will not be disagreeable. I heard the other day that Mr.Wynne was come over to our Plan. Mr. Mytton was my School-fellow at Westminster & was afterwards at Clare Hall [Cambridge] & at both these places was always one of my intimate Friends. I could not have met with a man more agreeable to my Choice, as he is of a most worthy Character, a good Scholar & has a cultivated understanding.

Robinson's father replied with his approval of the plan (and of Mytton), & by October 14 the 4 friends were reunited in Turin. By October 30, decisions had been reached. Robinson wrote from Turin: "I shall set out with Mr. Mytton only, as ye other Gentlemen propose going another Road; it would besides be very impossible for so large a party to travel together with Ease or Convenience."  So these 2 left Turin & traveled to Rome, stopping at Parma on November 6 & arriving in Rome on November 25. They lost no time in establishing themselves there, hiring a cicerone to show them the city. Wynn & Grant were expected any day. Thus, Robinson wrote to his father in December 1759, "I have ye happiness to be attended by ye best antiquarian in Rome, the Abbate Venuti, who as soon as Mr. Grant & Mr. Wynn arrive will begin to go about with us, which will be in a very few days."

After leaving Turin around November 1, Grant & Wynn visited Parma, Bologna, & Florence on their way south, but whether they stopped in Rome in December to rejoin their friends as planned or continued directly to Naples we do not know. On January 1, as they entered Naples. Grant's slightly dry account of this stay survives; in it he described their ascent of Mount Vesuvius & a collection of Priapuses at Portici. They remained in Naples until February 1760, arriving (or returning) to Rome on the tenth. These dates are relevant because the first version of this conversation piece was probably commissioned about this time, with the sittings commencing sometime in the following two months, when the 4 were together in Rome. This is likely because by April 15, Robinson & Mytton had left for Naples, not to return until June 20, & by the beginning of July, Grant had departed for home.

Nowhere in their letters do Robinson or Grant refer to the conversation piece by Dance.  But, on December 17, 1760, Nathaniel Dance wrote to his father: I have not yet quite freed myself from the disagreeable task of copying the Conversation Picture, tho' I believe it will not now be long before I shall. It has taken me up a good deal of time, as I was obliged to make 4 Copies, & tho I shall not acquire any great improvement from it or be paid much for my trouble yet I cou'd not refuse doing it, as it was the means of making me acquainted with my LORD GREY  & the other Gentlemen who have given me Commissions for Pictures besides....I am convinc'd these gentlemen will do me all the service that lyes in their power; I hear already that Mr. Robinson has recommended me to the DUKE of MARLBOROUGH, & other gentlemen who are coming to ROME, & he has me very much at heart. My good friend Mr. Crispin introduc'd one to the acquaintance of these Gentlemen.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

PERSONAL BRANDING in 18C - GARDEN Conversation Pieces

Joseph Francis Nollekens, 1702–1748, Flemish, active in Britain from 1733) Children Playing with a Hobby Horse.  Joseph Francis Nollekens was a Flemish painter who was principally active in England where he is often referred to as "Old Nollekens" to distinguish him from his famous son, the sculptor Joseph Nollekens.  Nollekens found a major patron in Richard Child, 1st Earl Tylney, for whom he painted conversation pieces usually set in the gardens of Wanstead House.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.