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27 J. Russel, 'Letters from a Young Painter abroad to his Friends in England' (1750), quoted in Painton, Hanging the Head. p.159 28 Courtauld Institute Press Cuttings, Vol.I, 1731-1811, p.38. The name of the newspaper is unidentified but the date is given as May 1783.
and 77). Three daughters display their properly feminine affection for the animal world together with their innate maternal tendencies by playing with squirrels. One sister attempts to lure her pet down from the tree with the aid of a nut whilst her sibling restrains another with a string. The third and oldest sister adopts a more supervisory role in the absence of a mother, raising one hand towards her youngest sister as she glances back towards the other. In the second picture, their brothers are similarly ranged around the base of a tree, creating a compositional affinity between the pendants. Whilst one child brandishes a bow and proudly gestures towards the bullseye he has just hit, the youngest passes some eggs he has stolen from a bird's nest down to Frederick who holds his hat up to receive them. 29 In 1791, Joseph Wright of Derby similarly pictorially divided the children of Richard Arkwright (figs.74 and 75).
In one portrait, the three eldest sons are grouped around a kite whilst, in the other, their younger brothers are depicted with their sister. This segregation, like the positioning of William in Zoffany's portrait, once again demonstrates the equation between subordinate age and subordinate gender. In contrast to the masculine pastime enjoyed by the older boys, the latter siblings are shown attempting to ride a goat, an activity that hints at a lesser degree of maturity.
In 1779, Josiah Wedgwood was planning to commission George Stubbs for pendants of his offspring and clearly had a very similar conceit in mind. He wrote to This is a curiously ambiguous compositional device, depicting an activity that was condemned by numerous children's writers in the later eighteenth century. See, for example, John Newbery's range of books on various birds including E.A. Kendall, The Crested Wren (London, 1799), p.l52 which ends: "Will you guard my golden head from harm? At least, will you refrain from harming it yourself, if we should happen to meet?" However, its popularity as a narrative device for portraits of young boys may be explicable as revealing a natural masculine hunter-gatherer urge. Whilst not entirely condonable, it could thus be seen as a proper tendency that could later be indulged in the more Thomas Bentley, his friend and colleague, with a lengthy description of his favoured
Sukey playing upon her harpsichord, with Kitty singing to her which she often does, and Sally and Mary Ann upon the carpet in some employment suitable to their ages. This to be one picture. The pendant to be Jack standing at a table making fixable air with the glass apparatus &c; and his two brothers accompanying him. Tom jumping up and clapping his hands in joy and surprise at seeing the stream of bubbles rise up just as Jack has put a little chalk to the acid. Joss with the chemical dictionary before him in a thoughtful mood, which actions will be exactly descriptive of their respective
Once again, there is an evident concern to represent children in activities appropriate to their position within the family. Whilst the depiction of Sukey and Kitty is intended to demonstrate their feminine musical accomplishments, their brothers were to be shown as interested and educated in science and the phenomena of the natural world.
Such a narrative would not only be properly masculine, but would suggest that the boys were going to follow in the professional (and profitable) footsteps of their father.
Such hierarchical ranking of siblings was continued in the numerous portraits of brothers and sisters which replicated the compositional structures of marital acceptable activity of hunting. The concern with infant cruelty towards the animal world will be dealt with in more depth later in the chapter, see pp.l99-201 Letters of Josiah Wedgwood ed. K.E. Farrer, 3 Vols. (Manchester, 1903-6), II, pp.492-3, Josiah Wedgwood to Thomas Bentley, 30 May 1779 imagery throughout the century. These images inscribed the male and female sibling within relationships of protector and protected, supervisor and supervised, instructor and instructed, similar to those of their parents. 31 For example, Bartholomew Dandridge portrayed Frederick, 3rd Duke of Somerset and his sister, Mary (fig.78), in stances that very much recall those of Cornelius Lyde and his wife. Once again, the male gestures towards the female sitter, mediating the gaze of the viewer, instigating himself as the primary recipient of that gaze and presenting his dependant for approval. Similarly, the standing position of the young Duke replicates the familiar placing of the husband and father at the apex of a triangular composition, symbolically overseeing the depicted space. However, whilst Mrs Lyde supports her daughter on her lap, Mary caresses a lapdog. This both evinces a suitably sensible attachment to the natural world and anticipates her future role as a mother, key to the continuation of some other elite family and strengthening the suggestion that her brother is adopting a husbandly role. Another good example of such structures can be found in Dandridge's
stands in the pose of the polite gentleman, one hand on his hip and the other clasping his removed hat. The angle of this leads the eye towards the seated figure of his sister who holds up the comers of her apron to contain the flowers in her lap. These are suitable emblems of femininity and fertility as well as indicative of the blossoming and inevitable decay of youth.
Indeed, the family was dominated by such binary structures and the view that order was enabled by the obedience, submission and respect of one party meriting the care and protection of the other is revealed by the titles of conduct books, including William Fleetwood, The ReLative Duties of Parents and Children, Husbands and Wives, Masters and Servants (1705) (London, 3rd edition, 1722).
Margaret Hunt in The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England 1680-1780 (Berkley, Los Angeles, London, 1996), pp.14-15 has noted the prevalence of such power relations within the household and within the state at large.
As the formal marital relationship depicted in the portrait of Lyde and his family was replaced by the representation of increasingly intimate and integrated couples, so too was explicit dominance supplanted in paintings of siblings. George Romney's The Clave ring Children of 1777 (fig.80) reveals a considerable shift away from the dynamics of earlier portraits. Whilst the brother maintains the active role of a husband substitute, he no longer gestures towards his sister for the benefit of the viewer but instead leads her and two dogs in a companionate stroll. Like Mary in Dandridge's portrait, that sister supports a puppy in her arms and thus reveals her womanly sensibility and potential maternal prowess. However, the sensibility of this action is here heightened as Miss Clavering cradles the animal closely to her bosom and casts her eyes down towards it, seemingly unaware of the observer's gaze. Her balletic pose and flowing neo-classical garb together with her brother's loose hair and skeleton suit also distinguish this portrait from earlier representations.
Some of these later portraits of brothers and sisters reproduce the familiar format of the married couple strolling in the landscape, the male gesturing to some point of interest as his companion follows his directive. Johann Zoffany painted Sir Bellingham Graham with his son and two daughters under a tree, the landscape opening off to the right (fig.81). The patriarch is seated on a chair to one side, looking towards his offspring and thus allowing his heir to adopt the dominant role. With his hat removed, this son gestures off towards the horizon for the benefit of the sister who leans companionably on his shoulder. Similarly, Thomas Gainsborough anticipated his portrait of Mr and Mrs Hallett (fig.4) in his depiction of the Charleton children (fig.82). Whilst still in 'coats, Robert once again has his hat politely removed and gesticulates towards the open landscape. However, his sister fails to look at the object of interest being presented to her and gazes out towards the viewer, playing with some flowers in her apron. This possibly indicates her immaturity, suggesting that she lacks the suitable attentiveness to masculine knowledge and intellect displayed by older female sitters. 32 The duplication of the conventions of marital portraiture in depictions of brothers with their sisters signified more than a fundamental familial dynamic of dominance and submission. It also inferred that those children would, in tum, become caring but authoritative husbands and virtuous, attentive wives. This closely echoed those prescriptive and fictional writers who advised the unmarried male reader to seek a wife within her home, arguing that a woman who demonstrated virtue in her role as a daughter would transfer that probity to her wifely duties. The Tatler, for example, complained of the excessive and overblown language commonly employed by men in courtship and recommended that a suitor should simply let his intended know that "her Piety to her Parents, her Gentleness of Behaviour, her prudent Oeconomy with respect to her own little Affairs in a Virgin Condition, had improved the Passion which her Beauty had inspired him with."33 The Reverend Fordyce similarly deemed the female "distinguished by her attention and sweetness to her parents" to be a promising potential spouse. Such duty and consideration as displayed in the role of a daughter were 'transferable skills,' certain to render that woman "a mild and obliging 32 It seems that the importance of gender overtook that of age as the eldest son became an adult and inherited his father's title and estate. Thus, when Reynolds depicted Sir Watkin Williams Wynn with his mother in 1768/9 (The Tate Gallery, London), he again employed the conventions of the strolling couple and the gesturing male figure. Whilst young boys could be represented in the company of their mothers in much the same way as girls, some concessions being made to their superior status, their masculinity enabled them to adopt the same instructive and protective role as that of a husband in maturity.
The Tatler no.139 (28 February 1710), in The Tatler (1709-10), ed. D.F. Bond, 3 Vols.
(Oxford, 1987), II, p.298 companion" to a fortunate husband. 34 Conversely, of course, it was implicit that a woman who showed disobedience to her mother and father would become a troublesome spouse. When Pamela announces her determination not to spoil her
children... generally make bad husbands and wives."35 * * * * * This pictorial emphasis on the future roles of children as husbands and wives jars with the model of change presented by Phillipe Aries and consolidated by Lawrence Stone. In Centuries of Childhood, it was argued that no concept of childhood per se existed in the Middle Ages, that children were dressed as adults, treated as adults and operated in the same spheres of work and playas adults. Then, in the seventeenth century, a flourishing of parental affection and recognition of the developmental processes of childhood within the educational system contributed to a new awareness of juveniles as possessing distinct experiences. 36 As a central source for this argument, Aries examined an astonishing array of visual evidence. He traced a development from medieval art, in which children were depicted as diminutive adults with mature musculature, to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when they came J. Fordyce, Sermons to Young Women 2 Vols. (1766) (Dublin, 4th edition, 1766), II, p.108 35 S. Richardson, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740), ed. M.A. Doody (Harmondsworth,
1985) p.468. However, the parallels between these familial roles went deeper than rhetorical exhortations to the unmarried. As Davidoff and Hall have argued in Family Fortunes, pp.348-50, sisters were supposed to care for and support their unmarried or widowed brothers, taking on the responsibilities of a wife and possibly those of a mother in the absence of such a figure.
P. Aries, Centuries of Childhood (1960), trans!. R. Baldick (Harmondsworth, 1962) to assume such a central importance as to be depicted on their own. However, his notion of a socio-historical discovery of the juvenile condition as evident in art has been heavily criticised. A number of scholars have attempted to relocate the transition as purely artistic, focussing on formal and practical developments. For example, Adrian Wilson has concluded that the depiction of increasingly infantile children was a product of the Renaissance re-discovery of naturalism by way of classical antiquity whilst Peter Fuller has looked to developments in means of artistic production as contributing to change. In particular, he noted that many early portraits of children were employed as bargaining tools in the negotiation of political marriages and were thus concerned with emphasising what the child would become, rather than what the child was. 37 Despite such criticism, many art historians have accepted the central tenets of Aries's model of development. Desmond Shawe-Taylor argued that Jean-Jacques Rousseau's semi-educational treatise, Emile, translated into English in 1763, prompted a new appreciation of the distinctive characteristics of childhood whilst, in a discussion of Allan Ramsay's The Hope Children (174617, Private Collection), Alistair Smart asserted that: "The increasingly sympathetic understanding of childhood that is observable in the eighteenth century finds sensitive expression.