Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Adam Buck and his Sideline Art

The print market was a hugely successful market in England in the the 18th century. It supplied rich and poor alike with artwork for their residences and places of business. Mezzotint prints would be made of the most popular portraits of the time. Satirical Images by the likes of Gillray and Rowlandson would be sold alongside them in the print shop windows, and were also eagerly scooped up by consumers. Satirical images tended to have a raunchier side, and frequently displayed titillating imagery to mix with humor.

Adam Buck was a miniaturist who felt especially home when the Classical came in style during the last few years of the 1700s. We can thank him for this portrait of the tart, Mary Anne Clarke. We can also thank Mr. Buck for what some now consider to be "pin-ups." Buck published some prints which border between the formal reproductions of fine art portraits and satirical images. Take the lovely print, Archers for example. Upon initial analysis we see ladies in the latest fashion practicing a sport en vogue for women of the time. However this print would be considered somewhat inappropriate to display in a formal setting among ladies of respect. Ladies of the time would have their hair pulled back or hidden under some form of bonnet, therefore the display of these ladies' free-flowing hair was rendered with the purpose of titillation. Also, the archer's positioning, being so liberal, could be considered quite exciting, as well as the closeness of the two women; lesbian pornography was not foreign to the 18th century. If you are still not convinced of Buck's intentions with the Archers, there is always his print, Sophia Western which is a little more forward with its intentions. Psst, Sophia your umm is uh... you need to adjust your top.


  1. Thank you for another interesting post--I enjoy starting my day with you in the 18th century. Katherine Louise