The annual meeting of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is Europe's largest and most prestigious annual conference dealing with all aspects of the history, literature, and culture of the long eighteenth century.
At the 39th Annual Conference, Queen's Art History, graduate student, Eric Weichel's conference paper was awarded the President's Prize. Congratulations Eric!
Below is the abstract of Eric's paper:
‘Fixed by so much better a fire': Wigs and Masculinity in early 18th-century British Miniatures.
Weichel, Eric J.
This paper is derived from archival research I undertook in London and in Bury St.Edmunds, Suffolk, where I reviewed the extant correspondence of John Hervey (1696-1743), looking for records of artistic and literary patronage by the Hervey family of Ickworth Park. Lord Hervey's diaries are well known as an important source of information on the early Georgian court, but, as his surviving papers attest, he was also a major patron of the arts, famous in his own time for his collection of Dutch painting, as for his employment of the portraitists William Hogarth and Jean-Baptiste van Loo, French sculptor Edmé Bouchardon, and the miniaturist Christian Friedrich Zincke.
I will discuss letters written from Hervey to his friend and political ally Stephen Fox (1704-1776), early in their extended and complex relationship, to illustrate the relation between the portrait miniature and the articulation of desire among the Georgian aristocracy. Through the juxtaposition of images from the period with archival evidence found in the Hervey MSS, I will point out how the wigs, fashions, and artistic styles of Ancien Régime France, and the visual language of classical Italy, were made use of by some courtiers to react against sexual and cultural orthodoxy.
By looking at the role of transnational cultural exchange in structuring the dissident patriarchal ‘head', Francophile and Italianate motifs become visible in the likenesses of the Hervey set, a group that included leading members of the Whig party, such as Thomas Winnington, William Bateman, Henry Fox and Charles Spencer-Churchill, 3rd Duke of Marlborough.
This research was made possible by the Muriel Folger travel grant, a departmental scholarship from Carleton University in my native Ottawa, Canada; I have since received a second overseas research fellowship from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and will therefore be in the U.K. during the time the conference is scheduled to take place. I have presented this paper before several conferences here in Canada in the last year, and, if accepted to BSECS, would be delighted for the opportunity to discuss my work with scholars who are experts in the field. My thanks for your time.