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Placing Faces: The Portrait and the Country House in the Long Eighteenth Century

April 26, 2011

Placing Faces: The Portrait and the Country House in the Long Eighteenth Century

An interdisciplinary day conference at the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York

Saturday June 11 2011

Speakers: Professor Gill Perry (Open University) Professor Emeritus Marcia Pointon (University of Manchester) Dr Kate Retford (Birkbeck College, University of London) Desmond Shawe-Taylor (Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures) Dr Leslie Johansen (Council for British Archaeology)

This interdisciplinary day conference explores the complex relationship between eighteenth-century portraits and the places they were so often ultimately destined for – the country houses of Britain’s landed elites. Commissioning and displaying portraits was one way in which a family could aggrandize themselves, whether by making a genealogical link to a military hero or a royal relative, or by presenting idealised versions of their families and their estates. But portraits could also interact with country houses in other quite surprising ways. Portraits of women, for example, might complicate seemingly confident masculine displays of martial heroism and political power, while a portrait of a fallen hero or dead child might forge unsettling connections between private grief and public narratives of bloody warfare and imperial dominion. It is these complex interactions between the portrait and the wide array of familial and national narratives at work in the country house that this conference sets out to unravel.

Registration is £12, including tea / coffee & a simple sandwich lunch.

For further details, including information on registering, please visit the conference website:

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