«A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of PhD at the University of Warwick This thesis is made available online and is ...»
Eighteenth Century (London and Toronto, 1993), pp.32-5; L. Stone and le. Fawtier Stone, An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 (Oxford, 1984). pp.73-5 L. Stone. The Family. Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 (London, 1977), pp.242-4;
L. Bonfield, Marriage Settlements. 1601-1740: The Adoption of the Strict Settlement (Cambridge.
1983). especially p.121 M. Pointon, Hanging the Head: Portraiture and Social Formation in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London. 1993). p.l77 element of his argument that a 'New Child' was 'born' in the 1700s. He claimed that children as portrayed from the early Renaissance onwards demonstrated the continuation of family names. Minimal attention was paid to their individual traits and artistic focus was finnly on dynastic considerations. Then, whilst such concerns persisted in the eighteenth-century portrait, painters such as Reynolds displayed increasing attention to the infantile and individual characteristics of children who were no longer portrayed as mere vehicles for the transmission of wealth and power. 5 It is this model of the displacement of 'traditional' concerns of lineage and familial continuity by 'affective individualism' that I wish to modify. It has been a persistent and illogical tenet in family history that these notions were polarised, that an increasing attention to and emphasis on the one necessarily and inexorably meant a decreased focus on the other. 6 Naomi Tadmor has shown that eighteenth-century novels such as Eliza Haywood's The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, whilst thematically supporting claims of a new affectiveness within the family, maintained a concern with dynasty. The practice of primogeniture underlies the novel, dictating both the plot and the characterisation of the Thoughtless siblings. Similarly, its disruption at the beginning of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, when the eponymous heroine's grandfather leaves her part of his estate despite having three sons and a J.e. Steward, The New Child: British Art and the Origins of Modern Childhood 1730-1830 (Berkeley, 1995), pp.19- 21 This trend recalls the traditional connection between the supposed rise of the affectionate, companionate marriage and an increased sense of equality between spouses. Revisionists have, however, argued that patriarchy and love were by no means incompatible. See E. Spring, 'Law and the Theory of the Affective Family', Albion 16 (1984), p.17; M. Hunt, 'Wife Beating, Domesticity and Women's Independence in Eighteenth-century London', Gender and History 4,1 (Spring 1992), p.16 grandson, is responsible for the narrative of disorder that follows. 7 Other scholars have similarly argued that the importance of primogeniture and the consequential hierarchical ranking of family members persisted in the eighteenth century. Both Susan Moller Okin and Eileen Spring have demonstrated that strict settlement did not assist a heightened awareness of the rights of the individual but rather reinforced established principles, emphasising the patrilineal descent of the family estate which it aimed at keeping intact by specifying "one child as the arrowhead of future power and fortune." Indeed, the only offspring that the institution barred the father from adversely affecting in his will was the already privileged eldest son. 8 * * * * * The persistence of concerns of genealogy can be seen the pictorial emphasis on the birth of sons and heirs that continued throughout the eighteenth century. Whilst Amanda Vickery has noted that the birth of girls was not deemed a disappointment in the case studies under examination in The Gentleman's Daughter, and Alan Macfarlane has argued for only a slight preference for sons amongst families with large estates at stake, considerable evidence suggests an emphasis on prospecti ve N. Tadmor, 'Concepts of the Family in five Eighteenth-Century Texts', (unpub. Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, 1992), especially chapters 6 and 7; N. Tadmor, 'Dimensions of Inequality among Siblings in Eighteenth-Century English Novels: The Cases of Clarissa and The History of Continuity and Change 7, 3 (1992), especially pp.304-18; N. Tadmor, Miss Betsy Thoughtless', "Family' and 'Friend' in Pamela: A Case-Study in the History of the Family in Eighteenth-Century England', Social History 14 (1989), p.305 S.M. Dkin, 'Patriarchy and Married Women's Property in England: Questions on Some Current Views', Eighteenth-Century Studies 2 (Winter 1983/4), pp.l21-38; Spring, 'Law and the Theory of the Affective Family', pp.1-20; N. Tadmor, 'Dimensions of Inequality among Siblings', p.317 heirs.9 Girls at least demonstrated a wife's fertility, but she could not rest until she had produced a son to inherit the family name and estate and, preferably, at least one more male child as an insurance policy. Lady Mary Coke remarked when the Duchess of Hamilton had been "brought to Bed... of a Son" that "she has certainly hitherto been a favourate of fortune's" and commented after Lady Gower had given birth to a girl that her husband "certainly did not desire" yet another female offspring. \0 Pitt wrote to Lord Gower to offer tempered congratulations on his new daughter: "Tho I can't possibly wish you joy of your hundreth girl, I do very sincerely of Lady Gower's recovery and hope she will bring better luck nine months hence."ll Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire's failure to produce a son for the first sixteen years of marriage caused her serious anxiety and prompted her to promise in 1789 that she would dedicate her time to being "quiet of body and mind, that I may not lose the advantage of giving the Duke a son." When she eventually did, her husband promptly deposited £13,000 into her bank account, seemingly as a reward for having done her duty. 12 Finally, Theresa Parker's brother received the news of the birth of his nephew in 1772 with significant approbation: "A boy too! It adds to the Happiness... A blessing in a family certain it is, a Son extends our worldly Views and Prospects, tying A. Vickery, The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England (New Haven and London. 1998). p.105; A. Macfarlane. Marriage and Love in England 1300-1840 (Oxford. 1986).
pp.53-4 The Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke ed. J.A. Home. 4 Vols. (Bath. 1970), II. p.367.
\0 22 September 1768; IV, p.108, 2 September 1772 Lewis. In the Family Way, p.214 II Lewis. In the Family Way, pp.60-1. The desire to bear an heir could well have been a reason for upper-class women employing the services of a wet-nurse as lactation was believed to delay future conception and, therefore, the chances of securing the line. Thus, the relatives of the Duke of Devonshire attempted to deter Georgiana when she became determined to nurse her daughter herself.
thus the Bond of domestic dependence."13 With the pressure to give birth to an heir, it is not surprising that much female lore focussed on possible ways of ascertaining a foetus's sex and that texts such as Aristotle's Book of Problems and Dr. John Moubray's Female Physician provided recipes that would supposedly enable a woman to choose the sex of her unborn child. 14 Eighteenth-century representations of the family group - from portraits such as Arthur Devis's John Bacon and his Family of 1742/3 (fig.87) in which the patriarch
Family (fig.2) in which he instructs his son in the art of fishing whilst his wife dominates the opposing group of their daughters and younger sons - thus reveal a persistent emphasis on the father's relationship with his male offspring. Such paintings of fathers instructing boys in some activity are very common throughout the period. Sometimes, as in the two examples cited above, that activity is a general accomplishment. Thus, the Duke of Marlborough discusses a cameo with his heir in Reynolds's portrait of 1777/9 (fig.8), introducing him into the masculine and elite world of collecting and connoisseurship. The father and son depicted in a painting by John Hamilton Mortimer of 1765170 (Yale Center for British Art) are similarly inscribed into this domain. On other occasions, fathers are depicted preparing their successors for more abstract roles. In c.1770, Thomas Gainsborough painted Sir See L.A. Pollock. Forgotten Children: Parent-Child Relations from 1500-1900 (Cambridge. 1983).
p.50 BL Add MSS 48218. Morley Papers YoU. f.113. Lord Grantham to Theresa Parker. 25 May See P. Bouce. 'Some Sexual Beliefs and Myths in Eighteenth-Century Britain'. in P. Bouce.
ed.• Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Manchester. 1982). p.40 Thomas Rumbold M.P in a landscape, accompanied by his son (fig.88). Rumbold stands in the archetypal pose of the polite gentleman; hat removed, one hand lodged in his waistcoat, the other resting on a cane and his feet splayed at right angles. The gesture that he makes out over the countryside, familiar from portraits of the companionate marriage, is particularly significant. His son stands at his side and echoes this motion, the positioning of his legs and feet mirroring that of his father.
Thus, he demonstrates that he is destined to be a similarly polite gentleman and companionate husband. However, Rumbold is also introducing William to the virtues of being a man of sensibility, capable of appreciating the landscape with which, in a manner typical of Gainsborough portraits, the father and son colouristically harmonise. The rose-coloured suit worn by the boy brings out the hue of the painted sunset whilst the grey-green fabric of his father's suit echoes the tone of the distant hills.
One of the most popular ways of representing the relationship between a father and his son is suggested by The Public Advertiser's claim in 1774 that "the common Wish of a Parent is to educate his Son in his own Profession."ls For example, Nathaniel Hone painted James Kirkpatrick, an ensign in the East India Company Troops, with his sons, James and George in 1756 (fig.89). The father's military duties are emphasised by his ornately detailed regimentals and are mirrored in the uniform of his eldest son to whom he pays most attention, leaning backwards to grasp his hand.
His younger son similarly echoes his professional identity but in a more light-hearted fashion, wearing his father's hat as he struggles with an equally oversized sword, clearly delighted with his role-playing. In the same year, Reynolds painted a similar
portrait of Admiral Francis Holburne in full military garb, one ann around the shoulders of his son who again wears a miniature version of his father's official dress (The National Maritime Museum, London).
The pictorial conceit of the son following in his father's footsteps, learning and adopting the patriarch's public and professional role, reflected a large body of literature that held men to be mainly responsible for organising their son's future career. 16 As Thomas Gisborne advised at the end of the century;
the superior intimacy which the husband possesses with the habits and pursuits of active life, and his superior insight into those attainments which will be necessary or desirable for his sons in the stations which they are to fill, and the professions which they are to practise, will entitle his judgement to... preponderance in determining the scheme of their education.n A common fear, however, was that the paternal ambition inevitable if the moulding of a worthy son was to proffer a sense of continuation and future glory might be taken to excess.l 8 It was thus warned that this instinct should be moderated, that a child's learning should be suitable to his future status and fortune.l 9 The Spectator praised a L. Davidoff and C. Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850 (London, 1987), pp.331-2; R.B. Shoemaker, Gender in English Society, 1650-1850: The Emergence of Separate Spheres? (London and New York, 1998), p.132. See chapter 4, pp.184 T. Gisbome, Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (1797) (London, 91h edition, 1810), p.385 See, for example, The Spectator no.192 (10 October 1711), in The Spectator (1711-12, 1714), ed. D.F. Bond, 5 Vols. (Oxford, 1965), II, p.253; The Spectator no.449 (5 August 1712), in The Spectator, IV, p.79 See J. Nelson, An Essay on the Management of Children (1753) (London, 3rd edition, 1763), p.29 friend whom he believed to be more concerned with "the Virtue and Disposition of his Children, than their Advancement or Wealth" whilst John Brown conversely condemned the father who failed to respond to the individual inclinations and talents of his child. As a result of such behaviour, he believed large numbers to be "misplaced in the World... rendered obscure or hurtful, when they might have shone and been beneficial to the Public, if fixed in their proper sphere."20 In The London Tradesman in 1747, R. Campbell similarly complained that fathers were frequently swayed by desire for social advancement in the rearing of sons, ignoring the particular views, qualifications and qualities of the individuals as a result. 21 Conversely, daughters or younger children were more likely to be pictorially grouped with their mother. This segregation of family members complied with much contemporary literature on the respective responsibilities of each parent. Fathers were seen to be less involved with female offspring and, as a result, portraits such as William Hoare's Christopher Anstey with his daughter, Mary of c.1779 (The National Portrait Gallery, London) and Reynolds's Florentius Vassall with his Daughter, later Mrs Russell (fig.90) are extremely rare. From the Marquess of Halifax in the 1680s who recommended to his female readers, "if you have a divided number, leave the boys to the father's more peculiar care" to Gisbome's belief that fathers should attend to the education of their sons whilst placing "the mode of bringing up... daughters"
Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times 2 Vols. (1757) (London, 6th edition, 1757/8), II, pp.62-4 21 Campbell quoted in Shoemaker, Gender in English Society, p. 125. John Tosh has argued in 'Authority and Nurture in Middle-Class Fatherhood: The Case of Early and Mid-Victorian England', Gender and History 8, 1 (April 1996), pp.54, 59 that this focus of the father's responsibilities ebbed in the Victorian period. Rather than being involved in a son's future career, he became more generally under the prime jurisdiction of their wives, the message was constant. 22 It was deemed a female responsibility to pass on the virtues and accomplishments that enabled proper fulfilment of the roles of wife, mother and supervisory housekeeper to their daughters.