New Book | Placing Faces: The Portrait and the English Country House

Posted in books by Editor on December 5, 2013

From Manchester UP:

Gill Perry, Kate Retford and Jordan Vibert, eds., Placing Faces: The Portrait and the English Country House in the Long Eighteenth Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-0719090394, £70.

9780719090394_p0_v1_s600This book explores the rich but understudied relationship between English country houses and the portraits they contain. It features essays by well-known scholars such as Alison Yarrington, Gill Perry, Kate Retford, Harriet Guest, Emma Barker and Desmond Shawe-Taylor. Works discussed include grand portraits, intimate pastels and imposing sculptures. Moving between residences as diverse as Stowe, Althorp Park, the Vache, Chatsworth, Knole and Windsor Castle, it unpicks the significance of various spaces—the closet, the gallery, the library—and the ways in which portraiture interacted with those environments. It explores questions around gender, investigating narratives of family and kinship in portraits of women as wives and daughters, but also as mistresses and celebrities. It also interrogates representations of military heroes in order to explore the wider, complex ties between these families, their houses, and imperial conflict.

Gill Perry is Professor of Art History at the Open University. Kate Retford is Senior Lecturer in History of Art at Birkbeck College, University of London. Jordan Vibert is a freelance researcher
specialising in eighteenth-century art and culture.

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Introduction: Placing faces in the country house

Part 1: A Walk around the House
1. The topography of the conversation piece: A walk around Wanstead – Kate Retford
2. Life in the library – Susie West
3. Marble, memory and theatre: Portraiture and the sculpture gallery at Chatsworth – Alison Yarrington

Part 2: Women’s Space?
4. Dirty dancing at Knole: Portraits of Giovanna Baccelli and the performance of ‘Public Intimacy’ – Gill Perry
5. ‘Necessary, usefull, easy and delightfull’: The production and display of pastel portraits in the English country house – Ruth Kenny
6. Georgiana at Althorp: Spencer family portraits 1755–1783 – Emma Barker

Part 3: Imperial Designs
7. Commemorating Captain Cook in the country estate – Harriet Guest
8. Framing Sir Francis: Lady Anne Stanhope and the corruption of civic masculinity – Jordan Vibert
9. The Waterloo Chamber before the Battle of Waterloo – Desmond Shawe Taylor


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