I have become a wee obsessed with Pinterest. Might even need a 12-step program! One can literally find an image for just about anything. Occasionally home decor or funny sayings catch my eye – yes, I have Pinterest Boards for those – but most often I am scouting historical clothing and anything Regency related. One of my boards is titled “Historical Portraits” and I only pin paintings of people from the mid-1700s to 1840s or so. It is a great way to see how clothing was worn, hair was styled, and interiors were decorated. It is also a fun way to learn a bit of history.
Here are a few of my favorite portraits from the Regency Era. I think these names will be recognized!
Eldest daughter of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland and Sarah Anne Child, Lady Sarah married George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey on May 23, 1804. Her extramarital affairs, though conducted discreetly, were said to be numerous. When asked why he had never fought a duel to preserve his wife’s reputation, Lord Jersey said drily that this would require him to fight every man in London. Lady Jersey was one of the patronesses of Almack’s and a leader of the ton during the Regency era.
Portrait by Alfred Edward Chalon.
Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson (1758-1805)
British flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of decisive naval victories. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the sight in one eye in Corsica. Of his several victories, the best known and most notable was the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he was shot and killed. Nelson’s death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain’s most heroic figures.
Portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbott, 1790s.
Welsh actress, the best-known tragedienne of the 18th century. She was particularly famous for her interpretations of Shakespearian roles, in particular Lady Macbeth. For twenty years she was the undisputed queen of the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. Siddons retired from the stage in 1812.
She began as a lady’s maid to Lady Greathead. In 1773, at the age of 18, she married actor William Siddons. She gave birth to seven children, but outlived five of them, and her marriage to William Siddons became strained and ended in an informal separation.
Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1804.
Rudolph Ackermann (April 20, 1764 – March 30, 1834)
Born in Stollberg, Electorate of Saxony, Ackermann was an Anglo-German bookseller, inventor, lithographer, publisher and businessman. He worked as a saddler and coach-builder in different German cities, then moved to Paris, and then London. In 1795 he established a print-shop and drawing-school in The Strand, setting up a lithographic press and trade in prints.
In 1809 he applied his press to the illustration of his Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, which appeared monthly until 1829. Thomas Rowlandson and other distinguished artists were contributors. Repository documented the changing fashions in dress and furniture of the Regency.
Portrait by François Mouchet between 1810-1814.
Duchess of Kent and daughter, the future Queen Victoria
Princess Mary Louise Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Princess of Leiningen, Duchess of Kent and Strathearn (August 17, 1786 – March 16, 1861) In this portrait by Henry Bone in 1824, the duchess is with her five-year-old daughter Victoria (born May 24, 1819).
The life of the Duchess of Kent, and convoluted line of succession that brought Victoria to the throne in 1837, is fascinating. Wikipedia has a nice synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Victoria_of_Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Those are a mere handful of portrait of historical people. I picked ones that would be familiar. Check out my Pinterest board with 216 pins of Georgian people, famous and unknown – Sharon’s Historical Portraits
Then, if you are really brave and have hours to kill, do a general search. Watch out!