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    Talking heads: classical portrait busts in the country house, 1715-1832

    Atkins, Alexandra Marie (2023) Talking heads: classical portrait busts in the country house, 1715-1832. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Atkins, A Vol. 1. Thesis [Final Post Corrections].pdf - Full Version

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    Abstract

    The aim of this thesis is to examine the classical portrait bust in the country house, rehabilitating and interrogating a type of sculpture which has been neglected or dismissed in scholarship. The bust, a ubiquitous object type of the long eighteenth century, is now somewhat unfashionable, and thus treated by modern scholarship as merely decorative. In fact, bust portraiture was a crucial part of country house symbolism and the self-fashioning of the English elite. Over a period of 117 years, between the Hanoverian Succession in 1715 and the passing of the Reform Act in 1832, eight country house case studies are analysed. In each case, ancient busts are considered alongside neoclassical copies, versions, fakes, and restorations. I will argue that the interplay between the bust and the eighteenth century’s intense engagement with the classical Greco-Roman past allowed the aristocracy and gentry to elide past and present, and to claim ancient ancestors and allies. The bust emerges from the eight case studies as no mere ornament. This thesis will demonstrate that political and personal hopes, loyalties, and losses were expressed and embedded in the country house using this versatile and desirable sculptural medium.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: 2 Volumes: Volume 1: Text, Volume 2: Images.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2023 14:28
    Last Modified: 30 Nov 2023 20:35
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/51821
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.18743/PUB.00051821

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