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Non-fiction

 

Non-Fiction

 
 
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FAME & FACEs: Portraits & caricatures of women in the reign of george iii

The prominence and popularity of portraiture during the eighteenth century meant that the public profiles of elite families, particularly those of privileged women, reached unprecedented levels. In some cases — as with Emma Hamilton — sitters could even rise in social standing as a result of skilful portraits and the fame that ensued signalled the emergence of the modern-day celebrity.

Portraits celebrated the virtues of women as mothers or accomplished ladies, and significant moments in life were commemorated with a portrait: engagements; marriage; maternity; election to a club — bringing women into the public realm at a time of expanding female social and intellectual opportunities, through the newly emerging pleasure gardens, assembly rooms, theatre and operas, let alone painting exhibitions at the Royal Academy.

But portraiture was soon followed by caricature, and there is a sharp contrast between the grand manner portraits, conversation pieces, and satirical prints - which had a moralising function. Fame & Faces explores the portrayal of women in the Reign of George III, a defining age of British art.

 
 

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