Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Enlightened Family Portrait, Part 3 The Enlightened Family

The family portrait is not highly unusual in art history although it is still a rarity; especially in displaying fathers and young daughters together. The new trend in portraying yourself as Enlightened not only began an increase in the family portrait but in depicting the family as actually interacting with each other. This was further proof to the viewer that, here you are in the act of participating in family life, which you enjoy on a daily basis because you are a forward thinking person. Anyone could sit for a formal portrait with their family but a painting of the family being active together is visual proof of their general enjoyment of each others' least for the amount of time it takes to sit for a painter. Here are some of my favourites.

Henry Walton, Sir Robert and Lady Buxton and their Daughter Anne, 1786

Joseph Wright of Derby, Rev D'Ewes Coke, his wife Hannah and Daniel Parker Coke, 1782

Joshua Reynolds, The Marlborough Family, 1777

Joshua Reynolds, George Grenville, Earl Temple, Mary, Countess Temple, and Their Son Richard, 1780

George Stubbs, The Wedgewood Family, 1780

Johann Zoffany, Henry Knight of Tythegston with his Three Children, 177o
(It should be noted that Mr Knight was divorcing his wife at the time of the sitting)

Women and Children
Husbands and Wives


  1. Thanks so much for more portraits! I can never get enough. I was especially interested in the picture of the Buxton family. It's on the unusual side and I don't recall ever seeing it before. I'm struck by its warmth of feeling. A few books here and there, a chair pulled up to the sofa, the room looks like people really live there. I also like the room's lack of ornamentation, the focus is really on the family. Though of course, Lady B still looks quite modish. Do you know what collection is this in? Just a wild guess on my part, but I doubt it's anywhere near New Mexico!(Sigh of resignation.)

    Thanks! This site is too fabulous!

  2. Yes, The Buxton family is one of my favorites but unfortunately it is a rarity, hence the bad quality of the image. If it was of a better quality, it would be even more impressive but I'm glad you noticed it! I am actually not quite sure where the painting is hidden away, possibly Norfolk.

  3. Hi,
    wow I think they are all so lovely, I really enjoyed your site. I would love to add you onto my blogroll if you don't mind, I will be visiting your site often!

  4. Of course! I'm glad you found my site and look forward to seeing you back here!