Thursday, April 10, 2014

Families in planned 18C English Landscapes from "Conversation Pieces"


1730 William Hogarth, (English artist, 1697-1764)  The Jones Conversation Piece

During the 1990s, I was trying to see both English & American landscapes as those living in the 18th-century did. Then I found families posed in idealized planned landscapes in Conversation Pieces, which is a term for a group portrait, especially those painted in Britain in the 18C, beginning in the 1720s. 


1730s Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) The Watson-Wentworth and Finch Families

Conversation Pieces usually portrayed a group apparently engaged in some informal genteel conversation or some family activity, very often outdoors. Typically the group were members of a family, but friends could be included; and sometimes, deceased relatives also appeared.

1730s Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) Syllabub straight from the Cow The Russell and Revett Familes in a landscape

The settings of Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to portray, including the ideal landscape or house interior, which he wanted to depict as the settings for his everyday activities. And so, these Conversation Pieces were a great way for me to see what those in the early 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes.


1730 Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) Outdoor Conversation Piece of Thomas Hill of Harwood and his First Family

The subjects of Conversation Pieces were depicted in a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they really could do the activities they were portrayed enjoying.  People were painted sharing common activities such as hunts, meals, fishing, or musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.


1730s Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) The Russell and Revett Familes with Fishing Rods and Game

Arthur Devis was a regional painter famous for his small Conversation Pieces, popular with the gentry of Cheshire. William Hogarth (1697-1764) & Charles Phillips (1708-1747) also worked in the genre. The German artist who settled in England, Johann Zoffany (1733-1810), specialized in complicated Conversation Pieces; and most human portraits by George Stubbs (1724-1806) take this form, with horses & carriages in the composition.

1730s Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) Family by a Lake and a Classical Pavilion


1730s Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) Family by a Lake and a Classical Pavilion Detail


1731 William Hogarth, (English artist, 1697-1764) Ashley Cowper with his Wife and Daughter



1738 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Breaking-Up Day at Dr Clayton's School at Salford



1738 William Hogarth, (English artist, 1697-1764) The Hervey Converstion Piece The Holland House Group



1740  Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Sir John Trevelyan (1735–1828), 4th Bt, with Wife Louisa Simond, Lady Trevelyan, Son Sir John Trevelyan (1761–1846), 5th Bt, & Daughter Helena Trevelyan



1740s Edwardy Haytley (English artist, (1740-61) The Brockman family at Beachborough Manor



1740s Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) A Gentleman handing a Lady a Sprig of Honeysuckle



1740 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Thomas Lister and Family at Gisburne Park



1742  William Hogarth, (English artist, 1697-1764) and George Lambert (English artist, 1700-1765) Chiswick House  NB  Not exactly a Conversation Piece, but too informative to leave out.



1730s Charles Philips (British artist, 1708-1747) Sir William Strickland and his family


1743 Edwardy Haytley (English artist, (1740-61)  The Montagu family at their Sandleford Priory estate in Berkshire



1747 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Richard, Mary, and Peter, Children of Peter and Mary du Cane


1744-46 Edwardy Haytley (English artist, (1740-61) The Brockman Family at Beachborough Temple Pond



1749 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Mr and Mrs Van Harthals and Son



1749 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Robert Gwillym and Family



1749 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The Thomas Cave Family



1751 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The James Family



1754 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The Clavey family in their garden at Hampstead



1756 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Edward Gordon, His Sister Mrs Miles and Her Husband in their Garden at Bromley



1758 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Alicia and Jane Clarke



1761 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Sir John Shaw and his Family in the Park at Eltham Lodge, Kent


1763 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Francis Vincent, his Wife Mercy, and Daughter Ann, of Weddington Hall, Warwickshire


 1763 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) The Daughters of John 3rd Earl of Bute


 1763 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) The Mathew Family at Felix Hall, Kelvedon, Essex


 1763 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) The Sons of John 3rd Earl of Bute


 1766 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) The Woodley Family


 1767 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) The Family of William Young


1769 George Stubbs (English artist, 1724-1806) The Milbanke and Melbourne Families


 1769 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) The Bradshaw Family


1769 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810)  The Drummond Family


 1773 Edward Smith (English artist) An Angling Party (perhaps The Willyams Family at Carnanton)


1776 George Stubbs (English artist, 1724-1806) The Reverend Robert Carter Thelwall and His Family


1780 Johann Zoffany (German-born English painter, 1733-1810) Henry and Mary Styleman


Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Henry Fiennes Clinton,9th Earl of Lincoln, with his wife Catherine and his son George on the great terrace at Oatlands


Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) On the grounds of Ranelagh


Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Sir Nathaniel and Lady Caroline Curzon


Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The Edgar Children


Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Two Children and a Dog in a Park


1780 George Stubbs (English artist, 1724-1806) The Wedgewood Family


1780 William Williams (British artist) Conversation Piece, before a house in Monument Lane, Edgbaston