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    Maria Cosway’s Hours: Cosmopolitan and Classical Visual Culture in Thomas Macklin’s Poets Gallery

    Calè, Luisa (2019) Maria Cosway’s Hours: Cosmopolitan and Classical Visual Culture in Thomas Macklin’s Poets Gallery. In: Haywood, I. and Matthews, S. and Shannon, M. (eds.) Romanticism and Illustration. Studies in Romanticism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 221-242. ISBN 9781108425711.

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    Thomas Macklin’s Gallery of Poets opened at the Mitre Tavern in Fleet Street in 1788 with the aim to ‘display British Genius’ through ‘Prints Illustrative of the Most Celebrated British Poets’. Early newspaper coverage promised ‘a monument of the powers of the pencil in England, as the Vatican is at Rome’. The incongruous juxtaposition between Fleet Street and the Vatican spells out the cosmopolitan ambition of the literary gallery phenomenon through its real and imagined geographies of display. Through the format of the paper gallery of prints, Macklin’s Poets offered the inventions of British Poets as a repository of painting. This chapter examines how the cosmopolitan idiom of the paper gallery is negotiated in the first number of Macklin’s Poets. This essay examines the extent to which this ambition was achieved in the first Number of Macklin’s Poets which carried an engraving of Maria Cosway’s The Hours, originally a painting with an impressively European iconographic heritage. The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1783, and was retroactively associated by Macklin with Thomas Gray’s ‘Ode on the Spring’. The trope of the Hours brought with it a weighty provenance derived from classical marble bas-relief, through the antiquarian pages of Pietro Santi Bartoli and Bernard de Montfaucon to Flaxman’s designs for Wedgwood plaques and vases. Cosway’s name also imported into Gray’s poem her reputation as a cosmopolitan, cultured woman who had completed the Grand Tour and who moved in elite circles including those of the Prince of Wales in London and the Duke of Orleans, Pierre d’Hancarville and Thomas Jefferson in Paris. The iconographies of the painting, the print, and the poem articulate a European cosmopolitan tradition for British Art.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Literary Galleries, text and image, cosmopolitanism, classical visual culture, poetry, allegory, Maria Cosway, Thomas Gray, Thomas Macklin, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Bernard de Montfaucon, Pietro Santi Bartoli
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: Luisa Cale
    Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 08:41
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:43


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