carlo grassiniLast login: 01-09-2017 01:03
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John Whetham of Kirklington

Artist: Joseph Wright of Derby b.1734
painted about 1779 -1780

An attorney's son, Joseph Wright of Derby who was born in 1734, trained as a portrait painter in London. He found a steady stream of portrait clients, whom he satisfied with more penetrating characterizations, more complex iconography, more subdued coloring, and, frequently, literary themes.

A landowner and country gentleman, John Whetham of Kirklington poses beside a border collie in front of a rocky background. He wears a green coat, a yellow waistcoat, and a fur hat and sash and holds a hunting spear. This costume, unusual for an Englishman, is a loose adaptation of a Hungarian hussar's military dress. Worn by John Whetham for a ball in 1779, this type of masquerade dress was also fashionable for portraits at the time, both because it forwarded the social aspirations of the English aristocracy and because it was timeless, outlasting changing styles.

John Whetham of Kirklington - Joseph Wright of Derby.

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