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However, whilst this group of portraits thus commemorates a traditional view of a family dominated by patrilineal structures for posterity, the historical reality was somewhat different. The Custs had inherited Belton House through a process of default from the Brownlows who had been seriously affected by the crisis in the birth rate of sons and had thus experienced insurmountable difficulties in attaining longevity (fig. 105). 'Young' Sir John Brownlow and his wife, Alice, had only succeeded in producing five daughters, one of whom died just as she was about to be married. Not to be daunted by the lack of a son, Dame Alice succeeded, as her tomb commemorates, in disposing of three of her daughters "in Marriage to three Noble Peers of this Realm."55 These unions with the future Earls of Exeter and Guildford and with the future Duke of Ancaster meant that the Brownlow sisters formed "an extensive social network, a sort of submerged female structure."56 Many of the family'S portraits commemorate these sisters and their illustrious husbands, the marriages having secured title, wealth and influence for the family. The line continued to be dominated by females when the fourth daughter, married off to Alice's nephew in an attempt to keep the estate in the family, failed to produce any children and the estate had to pass to that nephew's sister, Anne Cust.
Such passages of property through female family members were far from uncommon. Indeed, Lawrence Stone estimated that, between 1760 and 1769, nearly a 5S The tomb of Dame Alice Brownlow by Edward Stanton and Christopher Horsnaile is situated on the south wall of the nave of the parish church of St.Peter and St.Paul, Belton.
56 T. Lummis and J. Marsh, The Woman's Domain: Women and the English Country House (Harmondsworth, 1993), p.45 third of all inheritances passed to or through women, a fact of the kind concealed in portraits such as that of the Cust family.57 Thus, whilst Richard Leppert has emphasised the compositional segregation of masculine and feminine domains in Arthur Devis's Sir Edward Rookes-Leeds and his Family, of Royds Hall, Low Moor, York of 1763/5 (fig. 106), claiming it establishes the patriarch's importance and power through the lavish gowns and feminine accomplishments of his womenfolk, this organisational structure belies the fact that Edward Rookes had to adopt his wife's surname of Leeds in order to qualify for her inheritance. 58 Desmond Shawe-Taylor has similarly analysed Devis's Robert Gwillym of Atherton with his Family of 174517 (fig.l07) as depicting a patriarch gesturing to his property; including his house, his estate, his servant, his children and his wife. However, the image fails to reveal that the house and estate had actually been obtained through his marriage to that wife. 59 Such visual concealment replicates the legal concealment that was developed in the period in the form of what Lawrence Stone referred to as "heroic measures of namechanging." These measures, including hyphenating the surname of the inheritor with that of the heiress's family (as in the case of Edward Rookes-Leeds), using the heiress's surname as her son's first name and simply substituting the latter name for the former, were similarly designed "to perpetuate through surrogate heirs the impression of an unbroken descent in the male line."60 57 Stone, An Open Elite? p.119
However, this is not to suggest that women's role in continuing family lines was enforceably concealed by patriarchal discourse. As Amanda Vickery has shown, eighteenth-century women were largely deferential, at least in appearance, to the maledominated structures of their society.61 Anne Cust was an able woman who looked after her sons and daughters in the absence of her husband and maintained the family accounts with meticulous attention. It was she who was behind the commissioning of the portrait of her family, instructing her son to secure Seeman once it transpired that the prices of Hogarth, her first choice, were too high.62 However, in that portrait, she elected to present her deceased husband as the defining patriarch and to contain herself within the male-dominated line, to be continued by her son. And, when that son came of age, she ceased to address him in letters as 'Dear Jacky' and began to refer to him as 'Sir John'.63 * * * * * A second example of the persistence of patriarchal and genealogical concerns as revealed through such contextualisation can be found in the display of portraits in the state rooms at Kedleston Hall, near Derby (fig. 108). A large, full-length portrait of Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale with his wife, Caroline Colyear has hung over the fireplace in the dressing room since it was commissioned from Nathaniel Hone in 61 Vickery, The Gentleman's Daughter, pp.8, 81,285 62 Cust, Records o/the Cust Family, pp.247, 250, 260, 261 63 Cust, Records o/the Cust Family, p.239 1761 (figs. 109 and 110).64 It epitomises the companionate marital portrait. The couple stroll from their landscape garden into a portico, she tucks her hand under his arm and smiles out of the image as he gazes fondly towards her. Indeed, Shawe-Taylor has referred to this painting as a "carrying over the threshold portrait," arguing that the columns, whilst bearing little relation to the actual architectural structure of Kedleston, are designed to represent that house and to suggest that Scarsdale is escorting his wife into the newly rebuilt home of which she is to be mistress. Whilst the concept of the 'honeymoon' couple is less than entirely apt, for the couple had married at least a decade before Hone executed the painting, its association with the revamping of Kedleston is worth exploring. 65 When Nathaniel Curzon inherited Kedleston in 1758, he promptly set to work to modernise the family home, calling on the assistance of Robert Adam and a considerable income. 66 The state rooms clearly reveal Adam's hallmark stylistic features and exemplify the integrity and unity of components that is typical of the architect and often commented on by scholars: the correlation of the ceiling designs with those on the carpets below them, the similitude between the picture frames and the gilt surrounds of the mirrors, and the colour co-ordination. 67 In many ways, the Hone portrait should be seen as another element in this homogeneous, decorative This is evident from the catalogues of the collection, the eighteenth-century editions of which date from 1769, c.I771, c.I778 and c.1796. I would like to thank Jill Banks, the archives researcher at Kedleston, for allowing me to see these texts.
Shawe-Taylor, The Georgians, p.130
Euphrosyne (1764/6, Harewood House) in M. Rosenthal, The Art of Thomas Gainsborough: 'A Little Businessfor the Eye' (New Haven and London, 1999), p.274 scheme. The unusual colour used by the artist for Lady Scarsdale's dress emphasises the tawny hue of the marble featured in the fireplace below whilst the sombre garb of her husband similarly reflects the black and white of the other marbles used. The colonnade through which they are about to walk is certainly reminiscent of a portico but, when the image is seen in context, it also bears a remarkable resemblance to the screen of columns designed by Adam to divide the dressing room from its ante-room.
The connection between the design of this portrait and that of its location runs deeper than this. Lord Scarsdale had initially commissioned some designs by James 'Athenian' Stuart. These sketches are not only unusual in their painterly style but also in their inclusion of suggested arrangements for the patron's furniture and paintings. 68 Whilst the unfortunate Stuart was ousted shortly after completing them and they were never used, one is of particular interest. His Design for an End Wall with Sideboard, dated to 1757/8 (fig. 111), incorporates a large and carefully described double marital portrait, depicting a couple engaged in a stroll through a landscape. This imaginary painting bears many compositional similarities to the portrait commissioned from Hone a few years later, a resemblance that suggests interesting conclusions. First, it is reasonable to argue that Scarsdale was exploring ideas for such a portrait of himself and his wife to hang in the new state rooms, to complement the decorative scheme and to demonstrate proper moral and familial sentiments as well as taste and wealth. It is extremely unlikely that Stuart fabricated this image without any due cause, particularly as his other sketches include paintings that were certainly extant in the For these drawings see Saumarez-Srnith. Eighteenth-Century Decoration, pp.l46-9; Harris.
Robert Adam and Kedleston, pp.27-8 and D. Watkin. Athenian Stuart: Pioneer of the Greek Revival (London. 1982). pp.33-4 peer's collection. 69 Second, it emphasises the extent to which family portraits were ornamental, objects of luxury that not only demonstrated the wealth and taste of the family, but were also designed to complement their stucco ornament, their furniture and their sculptures.
Thus, the Hone portrait was clearly conceived in terms of the set of rooms in which it was designed to hang and it is within this context that it reveals themes of dynasty and familial succession. Large numbers of surviving catalogues at Kedleston reveal that many of the older portraits also on display in the State Rooms have similarly been there since the Adam renovation.7° Among these are copies of Van Dyck's Charles I, his Catherine Howard, Lady d'Aubigny and a portrait of Mary Modena as Duchess of York from the studio of Lely; paintings which clearly emphasise the links between the Curzons and the Stuart dynasty which had been conspicuous during the time of Sir John Curzon (1598-1686).71 To locate the contemporary Scarsdales within this context and thus to emphasise the inferred political and ideological allegiances of the family, Hone painted Lady Caroline in a dress with a Van Dyckian lace collar. While such costumes are common in eighteenthcentury portraits, this one acquires particular significance if seen in the context of a preparatory sketch for the painting (fig.l12). In this, her outfit features a loosely ruffled neckline. The alteration was probably suggested to allow the Hone to hang alongside the earlier paintings in aesthetic and metaphorical harmony, emphasising the connection with the Stuarts.7 2 Such unifying techniques can similarly be seen in See James Stuart, Design for an End Wall (Kedleston Hall, 1757/8) and Design for the Chimney-Piece Wall (Kedleston, 1757/8) See this chapter, p.24 1. n.64 71 For the links between the Curzons and the Stuarts, see Kedleston Hall. pp.38,73 72 West, 'Patronage and Power', p.138 Gainsborough's portraits of the 11th and 12th Dukes of Norfolk in the drawing room at Arundel Castle, both depicted in Van Dyckian garb and thus in tune with the style of the earlier, accompanying pictures.
73 Similarly, after a visit to Knole Park in Kent in 1779, Fanny Burney observed:
There are several pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and though mixed with those of the best old painters, they are so bewitching, and finished in a style of taste, colouring, and expression, so like their companions, that it is not, at first view, easy to distinguish the new from the 01d,74 At Kedleston, one of the portraits that has remained in the state rooms since it was first placed there by the lst Lord Scarsdale is by Jonathan Richardson the elder and depicts the peer as an infant with his parents (fig. 113). Hanging in a room adjacent to that in which the Hone portrait is so prominent, it again suggests the depiction of successive generations, demonstrating the successful and direct descent of land and wealth from father to son. That emphasis is here rendered even more significant by the draped infant that is featured in the top left hand comer of the Richardson painting, stretching his hand up towards three putti heads. This figure is presumably intended to represent Nathaniel's elder brother, John, who died when about a year old. The portrait affirms that the family line will continue with Nathaniel despite the loss of the first born son and thus is "designed to celebrate the revived hopes in a healthy male heir.''75 These hopes are fulfilled in the Hone portrait of that 73 Pointon, Hanging the Head, pp.13-36; Rosenthal, The Art of Thomas Gainsborough. p.158 74 Diary and Letters of Madame d'Arblay, ed. C. Barrett, 6 Vols. (London, 1904), I, p.272 75 Kedleston Hall, p.42 heir with his wife in the adjoining room, a portrait thus redolent with statements of dynasty and lineage as well as epitomising the companionate marriage.
* * * * * The importance of contextualisation is confirmed by the collection of eighteenth-century portraits in the colonnade room at Wilton House.16 Reynolds's portrait of Elizabeth, Countess of Pembroke and her Son George, Lord Herbert of 1764/5 (fig.S) hangs in the centre of one wall. The Countess places one arm protectively around her son's shoulders and grasps his hand with the other, indicating the physical intimacy that so dominated the imagery of mothers with their offspring.
This intimacy has, however, been tempered in respect to the age and sex of the child.
His suit reveals that he is out of maternal jurisdiction and the book in which he holds his place evidences the learning that will render him a suitable heir to the Pembroke dynasty and a worthy member of the elite classes of England. The muted colouring of Elizabeth's mauve dress and the subtle shade of grey that the artist has used for the suit of the child serve to draw attention to the deep red curtain swathed around a pillar behind them. This background, as well as relating the portrait to seventeenth-century aristocratic conventions, also links it with the pillars that give the room its current name.
Shawe-Taylor's claim that this portrait demonstrates "a deliberate moving aside to let the heir take the stage," emphasising lineage and the mother's provision of Many thanks to Sue Watkins and Alun Williams at Wilton House for their assistance with this case study.