Placing faces

The portrait and the English country house in the long eighteenth century

Edited by Gill Perry, Kate Retford and Jordan Vibert

With Hannah Lyons

Placing faces

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9039-4
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: October 2013
  • BIC Category: Art History, Modernism, History of art, 19th century, c 1800 to c 1899, ARCHITECTURE / Landscape, ART / Subjects & Themes / Portraits, ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945), Landscape Art & Architecture, The arts / Portraits in art, The arts / History of art & design styles: c 1800 to c 1900


This 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.

This book will be essential reading for all those interested in eighteenth-century studies, especially for those studying portraiture and country houses.


"the book provides valuable information that increases the reader's understanding of the crucial place portraits occupy in the political and familial role of the country house"

(Hugh Belsey, Art Newspaper, 01/07/2014)


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


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

Hannah Lyons is a Researcher and Information Assistant at Tate Britain, London

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