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"The wise surveyor": Surveying and representation in British house and estate portraiture, c. 1650-1715

Grindle, Nicholas Mayne; (2002) "The wise surveyor": Surveying and representation in British house and estate portraiture, c. 1650-1715. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation discusses the development of English house and estate portraiture in Britain, c.1675-1715. It argues that paintings described the landscape in such a way as to suggest that the land was naturally composed into the co-ordinated forms perceived by landowners when surveying their property. The work begins with an introduction setting out the subject matter and argument, supported by a survey of recent literature on house and estate portraiture and landscape painting. The introduction is particularly concerned with the question of the historically contingency of pictorial description. Chapter one asks why different continental portrait methods were taken up unilaterally in Britain when the tendency abroad was to use many different styles simultaneously. It relates the development of styles in Britain to ideas about viewing and describing the land in late-seventeenth century county histories and topographical surveys, which included many engraved estate and house portraits. Chapters two and three follow the development of the estate portrait in the paintings of Jan Siberechts. The chapters observe how in the 1690s Siberechts produced images of an increasingly descriptive and co-ordinated quality, following the natural-philosophical and landowning interests of his most important patron. The argument is that as Siberechts was faced with the pressure to describe the landscape he drew on the precedents of Flemish artists, as earlier engravers had done in county histories and topographical surveys. The fourth and final chapter looks at the sustained climax to estate portraiture's development in Britain, seen in Britannia Illustrata, 1707. It considers this work against the background of Joseph Addison's essays. Addison theory of the imagination (1712) suggested that social distinction was part of the natural world's design, something that is also signified in Britannia Illustrata's view of the landscape. The thesis's aim throughout is to consider the historical nature of description and how images of the natural world objectify socially subjective experiences and conceptions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: "The wise surveyor": Surveying and representation in British house and estate portraiture, c. 1650-1715
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1465176
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