Marcia Pointon
Marcia Pointon is Professor Emerita in History of Art at the University of Manchester.
Pointon, Marcia
Pointon, Marcia
United States of America
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Description: Hanging the Head: Portraiture and Social Formation in Eighteenth-Century England
Eighteenth-century England possessed a thriving portrait culture: likenesses of particular individuals exhibited at the Royal Academy or in the interiors of public institutions, such as guildhalls and charity foundations, as well as in private houses, were part of a network of visual communication that encompassed print-collecting, popular performance, and figurative acts of speech.

In this original and stimulating book, Marcia Pointon demonstrates how portraiture provided mechanisms both for constructing and accessing a national past and for controlling a present that appeared increasingly unruly. Through detailed historical analyses of particular aspects of portrait representation – images of criminals, the fashions and rituals around the masculine culture of hair and wigs, the gendering of childhood in celebrated paintings like Penelope with or 'Pinkie' – Pointon establishes the rich and complex ways in which portraiture reflected eighteenth-century England. How 'the head' was hung – whether it be a matter of the disposition of an actual body or the image of that body – was determined by social rules of posture and decorum, by artistic convention and commercial practice, and literally by the ways in which patrons chose to arrange particular portraits on walls – paintings that served ritual and symbolic as well as decorative functions.

Hanging the Head makes a major contribution to our understanding of portraiture as a cultural and political phenomenon in eighteenth-century Britain. It will be of great interest to art historians and to those concerned with the history of material culture, to museums specialists and to all concerned with literature, politics, and visual culture in eighteenth-century England.
Print publication date January 1998 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300073683
EISBN 9780300249798
Illustrations 291
Print Status out of print
Description: Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780–1836
PORTRAITURE WAS THE ROYAL ACADEMY’S source of sustenance and its pervasive poison. Blamed for the failure of history painting and viewed as a sign of...