«A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of PhD at the University of Warwick This thesis is made available online and is ...»
93 Hunt, The Middling Sort, p.178; Similarly, Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall have noted in Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850 (London, 1987), pp.155-6 that reading held an increasingly important place in middle-class lives during this period, a development assisted by enhanced educational opportunities and evidenced by an increase in the numbers of advice manuals, newspapers and magazines available as well as an explosion of booksellers, printers and libraries.
94 As Eileen Ribeiro has noted in Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe (London, 1984), p.153.
such jewelled miniatures became increasingly popular as the century progressed and sentimentality took hold.
95 Quoted in W.T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England 1700-1799 2 Vols. (London.
1928), I, pp.155-6 The light-hearted and affectionate ethos of Hogarth's portrait was in sharp contrast to the formality of earlier images such as William Atherton and his Wife, Lucy by Arthur Devis of 174314 (fig.22). The interior in Hogarth's portrait is minimal; the focus is on the sitters and the relationship between them. In contrast, the Athertons are stiffly posed in a starkly described room, the sharply receding floorboards emphasising the box perspective and enhancing the picture's sense of formality.
Whilst the Garricks are united in a narrative that suggests a certain playfulness in their relationship, Devis's sitters are engaged in distinct and separate activities. She has seemingly just laid aside her needlework for the benefit of the sitting whilst her husband's standing position, framed against the light rectangle of the open door, implies that he has recently entered from the outside world. Indeed, not only are the actions of the Garricks more closely integrated, but Hogarth has conveyed the impression that the actor's literary efforts are prompted by his wife. The way in which she leans over her husband's shoulder whilst he is in the act of creative exertion suggests, by appeal to a lengthy iconographic tradition, that she is his muse, the stimulation and inspiration for his activity.96 Mrs Atherton, meanwhile, is distinctly peripheral to her husband.
The strong mutual narrative and sense of physical contact that binds the Garricks serve to exclude the spectator. This effect is not only engendered by the sense of intimacy and privacy that dominates the picture, but also by the simple fact that neither David Garrick nor his wife meet the spectatorial gaze. Most early eighteenth-century conversation pieces depict the sitters engaged in a variety of 96 D. Mannings, 'Reynolds, Garrick and the Choice of Hercules', Eighteenth-Century Studies 17, 3 (Spring 1984). pp.266-7; D. Shawe-Taylor. Genial Company: The Theme of Genius in domestic activities, but almost all look up from their occupations and are thus shown to be aware of the external gaze. 97 Inevitably, this enhances an impression of formality and emphasises the act of posing. In contrast, Mr and Mrs Garrick are enclosed in a domestic sphere, ignoring the inquiring gaze. This negation and denial of external presence creates what H. Berger has termed, "the fiction of candour." The physiognomic myth is reliant on the appearance of the sitter as ignorant of the audience. If the sitter appears aware of the viewer's presence, then they can be supposed to have constructed their expression and activity for that viewer's benefit and the intentionality of the pose lessens the suggestion of the physical appearance as the index to the mind. If, on the other hand, the sitter is absorbed or occupied, inattentive to the fact that they are on display, the artist is able to create an impression of unselfconscious spontaneity and the viewer is either convinced of his or her nonexistence or of the sitter's unawareness of that existence. "The absorption that neutralizes the presence of the observer must therefore be construed as posing so as to appear not to be posing. "98 However, having pinpointed Hogarth's Mr and Mrs Garrick as signifying the emergence of a new marital ideal, it is important to qualify this argument and to mitigate any impression of such a transition as uncomplicated and linear. Social and Eighteenth-Century British Portraiture (Nottingham and Edinburgh. 1987). pp. 23-4 and E. Einberg.
Hogarth. the Painter (London. 1997). p.51 all note the reference to the theme of the muse.
For examples. see Arthur Devis. Mr and Mrs Hill (1750/1, Paul Mellon Collection, Yale Center for British Art). Francis Hayman. Margaret Tyers and her Husband, George Rogers (1750/2.
Paul Mellon Collection. Yale Center for British Art) and Thomas Gainsborough. A Portrait of Lady and a Gentleman (1750s. The Dulwich Picture Gallery, London) H. Berger. 'Fictions of the Pose: Facing the Gaze of Early Modern Portraiture'.
Representations 46 (Spring 1994), pp. 98.102. Also see E. Goffman. The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life (1959). (Harmondsworth, 1975), pp.18-9 cultural developments are rarely neatly consecutive, but rather enacted in a state of flux, different members of a society being affected in different ways and at different rates. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the Garricks were amongst the first to be represented in the new idiom of the sentimentalised companionate marriage. They were members of the progressive London bourgeoisie, mixing with the most elevated artistic and literary circles of the day. Additionally, Garrick was an extremely able self-publicist, singularly cognisant of the power of imagery as a means of selfadvertisement. From Hogarth's seminal and sizeable portrait of the actor as Richard ill, waking from his dream on the battlefield, "his visage was a nearly permanent feature in the print shops and exhibition halls."99 Thus, he would have been keen to exploit new modes of representation and new ideological fads. The clients of Arthur Devis, in contrast, were members of the provincial bourgeoisie. Mr Atherton was a respected pillar of the Preston community; a wealthy woollen draper, a member of the town council, an Alderman and one time Mayor. Whilst the couple actually lived in a house in the Market Square, Devis has suggested the locale of a country seat, the window at the back of the painting overlooking a cultivated landscape garden.l00 His portrait thus emphasises gentility and status, reinforcing and emphasising the sitters' comfortably dominant position in a provincial community.
99 L. Bertelsen, 'David Garrick and English Painting', Eighteenth-Century Studies 11, 1 (Spring 1978), p.31O. However, it should be noted that, for reasons unknown, the Garricks do not seem to have been pleased with the portrait. It was still in Hogarth's studio and unpaid for by the time of the artist's death. His widow then gave it to Mrs Garrick. See R. Wendorf, The Elements of Life: Biography and Portrait Painting in Stuart and Georgian England (Oxford, 1990), pp.185, 186 and O. Millar, "Garrick and his Wife' by William Hogarth', Burlington Magazine 104 (1962), pp.347-8 100 C. Saumarez Smith, Eighteenth-Century Decoration: Design and the Domestic Interior in England (London, 1993), p.l64 A comparison of Hogarth's portrait with another painting by Arthur Devis, that of Sir George and Lady Elizabeth Strickland painted in 1751 (fig.23), once again serves to emphasise the unequal pace of change. The catalogue to an exhibition of paintings by Devis in 1983-4 referred to Lady Strickland's presentation of a sprig of honeysuckle to her husband as nothing less than "proto-romantic."lol However, this image actually reinforces the argument that such members of the rural gentry were more concerned with emphasising status and position than with representing feeling between family members at this time. As Ellen G. D'Oench has elucidated, the seeming gesture of endearment is as formulaic as Lord Strickland's civilised, crosslegged pose. His wife's gift is bestowed according to contemporary codes of polite and graceful behaviour, as comparison with engravings from conduct manuals such as Franctois Nivelon's Rudiments of Genteel Behaviour of 1737 demonstrates. 102 Thus, whilst predating Hogarth's painting by only a few years and anticipating it to some degree in the relative sense of contact between the sitters, Lord and Lady Strickland retains much in common with older traditions from the early decades of the century. An examination of Sir Godfrey Kneller's Charles, 2nd Duke of Richmond and his Wife, Sarah of the early 1720s (fig.24) discovers a very similar ethos. The Duke's status is emphasised by his armour and by the collar of the garter that hangs round his neck. His wife, meanwhile, plucks a flower between thumb and forefinger whilst looking back at her husband in a manner that very much anticipates the pose of Lady Strickland. Both paintings are formulations of a more courtly affection than the J. Hayes and S.V. Sartin. Polite Society by Arthur Devis 1712-1787 (Preston and London.
1983/4). pp.53-4 E.G. d·Oench. The Conversation Piece: Arthur Devis and his Contemporaries (New Haven.
1980). pp.15-6 increasingly naturalistic style heralded by Hogarth's picture. They are images in a ceremonious and contrived vein, describing the emotional quality of the relationship but in a mediated and contrived fashion, placing greater emphasis on manners and etiquette.
The shift from the portraiture of an artist such as Kneller to the companionate imagery as discussed in Mr and Mrs Garrick does not relate to a shift in the quality of lived marital relationships. There is certainly ample evidence to suggest the emotional intensity of the Garricks' marriage. For example, the actor wrote to Sir James Caldwell in 1776 to decline an invitation to Castle Caldwell in Ireland, "as I have not left Mrs Garrick one day since we were Married, Near 28 years, I cannot now leave her, and she is so sick and distress'd by the sea, that I have not had the resolution to follow my inclinations on account of her fears."J03 Eva Maria was very much involved in both her husband's public and social life and letters from his friends and acquaintances are peppered with concerns for her well being and expressions of affection. Hannah More, for one, wrote in 1777 that "no one better knows her value, or more truly loves or honours her, I mean except yourself."104 However, whatever Kneller's portrait of them suggests, relations between the Duke of Richmond and his F.48.F.6: Forster Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, 'Garrick Letters Miscellaneous 1774-1777' p.48, David Garrick to Sir James Caldwell, 14 May 1776 104 F.48.F.5: Forster Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, 'Garrick Letters 1776-1779 and undated' p.8, Hannah More to David Garrick, 21 December 1777. The affectionate and intimate nature of their relationship appears to have been a publicly acknowledged fact. Lady Sarah Lennox wrote of her sympathy for Eva Maria after Garrick had died. Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox. I, p.293, Lady Sarah Lennox to Lady Susan o'Brien, from Goodwood, 9 March 1779: "In the first place, I believe that if it is possible to give the name of love to an attachment at the end of about thirty years, she was in love with her husband, but this I am sure of, he was the whole and sole occupation and business of her life. To nurse him when he was sick, and admire him when well, has been her employment so long, that she must now feel the most forlorn and helpless of all creatures."
wife were far from formal or courtly. Whilst their marriage was initially contrived by their parents to payoff his fathers' gambling debts and to secure the extant friendship between the families, the Richmonds appear to have been a very affectionate couple.
Stella Tillyard quotes a letter written by the Duchess in 1740 after the pair had quarrelled, claiming: "Of all the time that I have loved you, I never felt more love and tenderness for you than I did yesterday... "105 Thus, to posit the development in pictorial language as reflecting the development of the companionate marriage in actual domestic life would be misleading.
Equally, the transition between these portraits should not be perceived as from a complete absence of expressed affection to an entirely original pictorial concern with emotional bonds. It is too simplistic to suggest that no pictures before 1750 demonstrate sentiment. Whilst the conversation pieces of an artist such as Devis do appear stiff and formulaic to the modem eye, affection is not absent, but is rather encoded in a lexicon of gestures and postures. Conventions of gentility and politeness assume dominance over expressions of intimacy, but in themselves codify those expressions. As Christopher Flint remarks of Devis's John Bacon and his Family of 1742/3 (fig.87): "Typically, a prop coupled with a simple gesture... serves to establish emotional relationships in the picture. In the postures the figures adopt, formal attitude rather than expression conveys the intimacies of family life."l06 Affection is present, but it is mediated, superseded by the desire to translate relationships through the filter of correct and genteel poses and gestures. The early conversation piece should not be presented as antithetical to later paintings by artists such as Reynolds, but rather as a 105 T iII yard, Aristocrats, pp.lO-ll 106 C. Flint, "'The Family Piece"; Oliver Goldsmith and the Politics of the Everyday in Eighteenth-Century Domestic Portraiture', Eighteenth-Century Studies 29 (1995/6), p.138 stage in the development towards such sentimental images. The very presentation of domestic life in the genre, the portrayal of figures in private residences, accompanied by family and friends, was a new development in the early 1700s and one that evidenced an unfamiliar interest in the depiction of familial and domestic life. It was not until the mid century that the conversation piece began to convey that life through focus on the relationships therein, but the very creation of the genre was a necessary antecedent to such images.
The development should thus not be seen as "a liberation from convention, but the need to formulate new conventions. "107 As the desire to emphasise politesse ebbed, so the wish to demonstrate worthy domestic relationships burgeoned. M.