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«A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of PhD at the University of Warwick This thesis is made available online and is ...»

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Such division of masculine and feminine characteristics and consequent roles is nowhere more explicit in pictorial representation than in pendant portraits. In this tradition, husband and wife are depicted on separate canvases, often linked by equivalent size, identical frames and certain compositional, narrative and formal parallels. Eighteenth-century pendants continued earlier traditions by commonly inscribing each sitter within conventional and contrasting gender roles. However, as the social standing of those commissioning portraiture became ever more diverse, so depicted male roles became increasingly varied and particularised. Men were portrayed as landed gentlemen, as connoisseurs, politicians, soldiers, agriculturists or industrialists. Women, meanwbile, lacked such professional identities. Any paid employment in which those below the rank of gentry might have been engaged tended to be unrecorded and unemphasised, seemingly as the leisured middling-class woman denoted a successful husband and family status. 33 Thus, they continued to be inscribed within the same universal and unifying fields of the home and familial relations that they had been in the past, identified according to the generic, ahistorical categories of actual or potential wife or mother. However, the delineation of those categories in the eighteenth century reveals the new sentimentalism of the period as women came to be depicted as emotionally involved with and constitutionally suited to such domains.

The specificity of masculine representation as opposed to the depiction of universal femininity has been noted by Shearer West: "Generally speaking, when they [women]

were single or newly married, they became objects of display and even of fantasy:

33 M. Hunt, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England 1680-1780 (Berkley. Los Angeles and London. 1996). chapter 5 when mothers they became the machinery by which the family name was maintained. "34 Many eighteenth-century theorists certainly conceived of portraiture in this way, restricting the symbols of individual identity and status to male sitters. Early in the century, Jonathan Richardson advised the budding artist that, "every part of the portrait, and all about it must be expressive of the man, and have a resemblance as well as features of the face." He proceeded to discuss the various attributes that could be exploited to provide information about a sitter's personal history, citing official robes, books and ships as examples. 35 The gendered nature of his discussion was echoed in Sir Joshua Reynolds's fourth Discourse, delivered at the Royal Academy in 1771: ''Those expressions alone should be given to the figures which their respective situations generally produce. Nor is this enough; each person should also have that expression which men of his rank generally exhibit."36 As Gillian Perry has pointed out, this quote reveals that status in Reynolds's view, be it professional, political, or social, was similarly restricted to men. 37 The contrast between historical masculine individuality and ahistorical generalised femininity was frequently discussed in contemporary prescriptive and fictional texts. Thomas Gisbome began his Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex S. West, 'Patronage and Power: The Role of the Portrait in Eighteenth-Century England', in J.

Black and J. Gregory, eds., Culture. Politics and Society in Britain 1660-1800 (Manchester and New York, 1991), p.139 35 J. Richardson, 'An Essay on the Theory of Painting' (1715), in The Works of Mr. Jonathan Richardson (London, 1773), pp.54-5. My italics 36 Discourse IV, in Sir J. Reynolds, Discourses on Art (1769-1790), ed. R.R. Wark (1966) (London, 4th edition, 1969), p.58. My italics G. Perry, 'Women in Disguise: Likeness, the Grand Style and the Conventions of 'Feminine' Portraiture in the Work of Sir Joshua Reynolds', in G. Perry and M. Rossington, eds., Femininity and Masculinity in Eighteenth Century Art and Culture (Manchester and New York, 1994), p.21 by arguing that, whilst men have a wide variety of roles and professions in life and thus many and disparate trials to endure, women are scarcely distinguishable within the united domestic sphere, not even in terms of class. He concluded from this that he could address his prescriptions to women as a single and united body of readers.38 Wollstonecraft damned such attitudes in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She complained that, whilst conduct writers allowed a virtuous man to "have a choleric or a sanguine constitution, be gay or grave," they 'levelled' women "into one character of yielding softness and gentle compliance." Later in the treatise, she extended her complaint to prescribed gender roles. Whilst men can follow various paths to various goals of fame and power, women are so united in their aims of domestic and wifely achievement that "they are all rivals."39 The segregation of such gendered spheres appears in pendant portraits in a variety of ways. Men are often defined through their ownership of land and the power with which it endows them. In 1769, Joseph Wright of Derby painted Mr and Mrs Hesketh from Derbyshire (figs.25 and 26). The images of husband and wife are independent but formally linked through the leaning tree that balances each figure against an expanse of sky. However, their actions and poses reveal fundamental differences. Frances Hesketh holds her place in a book as she looks to one side, seemingly contemplating what she has been reading and revealing herself to be an educated lady, a suitable companion for her husband. The balustrade and urn in the background establish her location as within the environs of the cultivated grounds around the house. In contrast, Fleetwood assertively meets the viewer's gaze and has been engaged in a hunting expedition, suggested by the powder hom tucked into the 38 Gisbome, Enquiry into the Duties o/the Female Sex. pp.2-3 39 Wollstonecraft. 'A Vindication', pp.169,275 pocket of his coat and the gun propped next to him. As discussed in respect of Mr and Mrs Andrews, this narrative reveals the extent of the sitter's wealth and property, entitling him to participation in such an elite pastime.40 Other male pendants focus upon public role or profession whilst their partners remain within much the same visual limits. Perhaps the most notable and certainly the most socially elevated example of this is to be found in Benjamin West's portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte of 1779 (figs.27 and 28).41 Both figures face inwards and rest one hand on the thigh, posed against a backdrop of pillars and drapes, traditional conventions of patrician portraiture. Contrastingly, the King grasps plans for repelling the French fleet off the coast of England whilst the Queen rests one hand on the shelf which bears her crown, emphasising the regal position that is dependent on her husband. The real contradistinction, however, is to be found in the distant background scene in each image. Through an arch behind the figure of George, West has described a scene of soldiers, horses and canons, emphasising the monarch's role as a military commander. The equivalent prospect in Charlotte's portrait is of her substantial brood, a vista of domesticity that links her with universalised categories of femininity. However, as the Queen of England, her assembled offspring assume a particular significance. Whilst the King's public responsibilities constitute his debt to the nation, hers is the progeny that ensures the continuation of the royal line.





A third aspect of male identity may be dealt with here, that of the domain of connoisseurship and the Grand Tour. When Reynolds painted Jane Hamilton, Lady Cathcart, with her daughter in 1755 (fig.29), he employed the knowledge accumulated

–  –  –

41 Noted and discussed by Linda Colley. Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (New Haven and London. 1992). p.268 on his recent Italian Tour to portray her in a Madonna and child format, typical of the Italian Renaissance. The naked child is seated on her lap, one hand raised as if in blessing, whilst her supporting pose, broad lap and covered head reinforce the association. However, Reynolds employed his Italian training in the pendant of her husband in a very different manner (fig.30). Recalling numerous images of English aristocrats in Rome by Pompeo Batoni, this portrait includes a vista through swathes of drapes (once again recalling seventeenth-century conventions of aristocratic portrayal) to a view of classical architectural structures. The reference to the Grand Tour is complimented by pictorial references to Cathcart's military career in the form of his uniform and his patch, concealing a scar acquired in the Wars of the Austrian Succession.

* * * * * Whilst pendants were fundamentally and traditionally divisive, double marital portraits, in which husband and wife occupy the same pictorial space, increasingly came to emphasise a communal narrative in the mid and later decades of the eighteenth century. Inevitably, the usual locale for this mutual activity or conversation was within the home or its environs. As contemporary writers elevated the domestic duties of women, so they were conversely critical of women who moved in public spaces. They accused them of indulging in personal display, neglecting familial responsibilities and of potentially misusing money that should be rather be disbursed wisely and frugally for the benefit of the household. At the same time, as it became increasingly important for a man to be shown as virtuous in his private life, so the domestic environment also became a suitable location for male representation.

The mutual quality of the narrative in the double portrait tradition often relied upon the gesture of the husband to some location or object, holding forth for his wife's instruction and edification. A good example of this is Joseph Wright of Derby's painting of Mr and Mrs Coltman of 177112 (fig.31), depicted outside their house in Lincolnshire and imminently to set out for a horse ride. As he waits for the groom to arrive with his mount, Mr Coltman points in the direction of their intended excursion, a directive his wife follows with an indication of her whip. However, the most repeated version of this theme was that in which the couple stroll in their landscape garden, the husband motioning to some feature of interest. This clearly proprietary gesture, emphasising the ownership and cultivation of land, reappears repeatedly throughout the latter half of the century in the genres of both major and minor artists and in depictions of sitters from the middle classes, gentry and aristocracy. From Gainsborough's famous Mr and Mrs Hallett; or, The Morning Walk of 1785 (figA) to John Russell's unknown portrait of Admiral Bon. John Leveson Gower and his Wife, nee Boscawen of c.1787 (fig.32), and from the intimate depiction of the Garricks in the grounds of their home at Hampton by Johann Zoffany of 1762 (fig.33) to Reynolds's grandiose and regal portrait of The Earl and Countess of Mexborough (fig.34), the motif was extremely popUlar. Its sources are disputed and difficult to trace. Contemporaries certainly seem to have viewed The Morning Walk as something of an innovation. An article in The Morning Herald in 1786 by Henry Bate-Dudley infonned the paper's readership that: "The portraits of Mr and Mrs Hallet which were painted a few months since by Mr Gainsborough, arm-in-arm, in a nouvelle stile appears to have promenaded from his gallery, as they are no longer to be observed there!"42 However, recent art historians have suggested that the device was less innovative than Gainsborough's friend would have liked to suggest. John Hayes has claimed that the "motif of the promenade with the figures linked by joint concentration on the distant prospect" can be traced back to the work of Albrecht Diirer.43 Certainly, drawings such as Young Couple (1493/4, Kunsthalle, Hamburg) or engravings such as The Walk of 1498 (fig.35) bear distinct compositional similarities to images such as The Morning Walk. However, the utility of such comparisons is limited as neither image is a portrait and the latter is allegorical.

As suggested by D.R. Smith, a more likely source for the strolling, conversing couple can be found in seventeenth-century Dutch marital portraits. Claiming that the double portrait "has long been counted among the characteristic artefacts of middleclass civilisation in the Netherlands," Smith has indicated paintings such as Sir Peter Paul Rubens's Self-Portrait with Helene Fourment (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Bartholomeus van der HeIst's Portrait of a Promenading Couple of 1661 (fig.36) as typifying the theme of the lover's promenade. 44 A painting on display in Welbeck Abbey provides another interesting example of this tradition. Executed in the later seventeenth century, William, 1st Earl of Portland and his first Wife, Anne Villiers has been variously ascribed to Caspar Netscher, Nicolas Maes and Jan Mytens (fig.3?). Whoever the artist, the portrait evidences the main features of this recurrent narrative. The couple stroll across a terrace in the grounds of their house, the husband 42 The Morning Herald 30 March 1786. The catalogue, The Portrait in British Art (London, 1991), no.41. attributes this passage to Gainsborough's friend.

43 1. Hayes, Thomas Gainsboroug h (London, 1980), p.ll 0 D.R. Smith, Masks of Wedlock: Seventeenth-Century Dutch Marital Portraiture (Epping, 1982), pp.2. 85. 156, 163 gesturing out over the territory towards which he and his wife are headed. 45 The influence of such images may have been direct or, more probably, filtered through the fete galantes of French artists such as Antoine Watteau and Jean Honore Fragonard.

Through the mutual dynamic of the double marital portrait, artists visually illustrated the harmonious nature of distinct masculine and feminine domains. It was claimed that men and women were designed to come together in matrimony, each to supplement the virtues lacked by the other, to temper the more extreme qualities of the opposite sex with their own characteristics. The Marquess of Halifax was one of the earliest to elucidate the notion in the sentimentalised form that came to be characteristic of the eighteenth century in his declaration: "We are made of differing tempers, that our defects may the better be mutually supplied."46 When The Spectator reiterated his view, arguing that masculine gravity was necessary to save women from the evils of coquetry and that women's vivacity was needed to prevent men from becoming cynical, it entitled the article Concordia Discors. Thus, the Pythagorean notion of the universe as an amalgam of discordant elements, balancing each other out



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