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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820sThe Long Eighteenth Century$
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Jennie Batchelor and Manushag N. Powell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474419659

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419659.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Magazine Miniatures: Portraits of Actresses, Princesses, and Queens in Late Eighteenth-Century Periodicals

Magazine Miniatures: Portraits of Actresses, Princesses, and Queens in Late Eighteenth-Century Periodicals

Chapter:
(p.458) 29 Magazine Miniatures: Portraits of Actresses, Princesses, and Queens in Late Eighteenth-Century Periodicals
Source:
Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s
Author(s):

Laura Engel

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419659.003.0030

This essay explores images of actresses, queens and princesses in late-century periodicals. Comparing portraits of Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson, and Elizabeth Inchbald to images of Queen Charlotte and Princess Charlotte Augusta, Laura Engel argues that periodical portraits function as celebrity pin-ups (versions of the same image) as well as markers of individual character (celebrating specificity and originality), thus participating in the creation of ideas about women’s claim to fame, legitimacy, and visibility. Readers could ‘own’ an image of their favourite player by purchasing a periodical, and could also feel connected to royal women, who resembled their most cherished theatrical stars. At the same time, the legitimacy bestowed on queens and princesses transferred visually to famous actresses who appeared in very similar costumes and poses. Looking closely at the ways in which artists employed similar iconography in these portraits, suggests ways of seeing that, Engel contends, connect to contemporary modes of visual display, particularly to the repetition and serial nature of pictures on Facebook, which promote a sense of intimacy and familiarity with the portrait’s subject that is ultimately a construction. Periodical portraits thus foreground the inherent tension between formality and intimacy highlighted in images of celebrated women.

Keywords:   periodicals, celebrity, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Inchbald, queens, Queen Charlotte, Princess Charlotte Augusta, princesses, portraits

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