Sunday, March 16, 2008

Portrait of a bluestocking

The National Portrait Gallery has recently made an exciting discovery as they have found a portrait of Elizabeth Carter, the eighteenth century bluestocking, in a private collection. In the oil painting by John Fayram, painted c 1735-41, she is shown as Minerva, the goddess of handicrafts, who was also associated with Athene, the goddess of war. The painting will go on display from 13 March, and will be part of the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition, Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings, which will run until 15 June.

"This portrait was part of a campaign to present Carter as an intellectual prodigy, a female celebrity and a virtuous role model for women who might wish to pursue an education," said the exhibition's co-curator, Dr Lucy Peltz.

"Writer Samuel Johnson once said that his "old friend, Mrs Carter could make a pudding as well as translate Epictetus... and work a handkerchief as well as compose a poem".

You can see a picture of the portrait and read the full story on the BBC site by clicking here

1 comment:

Jan Jones said...

Fascinating stuff.

But as for what Samuel Johnson said about Mrs Carter - Well, really, can't we all???