To find ‘Woman in Red’ here…
The New Georgians exhibition – Orleans House Gallery, until 27 July 2014
(Check out the piece on Radio 4 that aired in June…
“New research has revealed that 40% of women admit to applying red lipstick in order to attract the attention of a male boss. They believe that it will lead to promotion and a study by scientists at Manchester University last year appears to support this belief because it has been proved that men are most attracted to red lipstick over any other colour. Women have been using lipstick for thousands of years but it was with the arrival of photography and cinema that lipstick became popular across the globe. Social historian Madeleine Marsh is the author of The History of Compacts & Cosmetics. She talks to Jenni about the history of lipstick, lipstick fashions and the significance and popularity of red lipstick.” Woman’s Hour, June 6th 2014.)
The New Georgians celebrates the tercentenary of the Hanoverian accession. This exhibition, part of the Richmond upon Thames Georgians Festival, commemorates this historical event through a display exploring the life and local links of Queen Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737), wife of King George II. Caroline lavishly dined in the Octagon Room on a visit here in 1729. Her husband’s mistress, Henrietta Howard, lived at the nearby Marble Hill House.
The main focus of the exhibition is contemporary artwork from across the UK submitted via open submission. Artists explore the impact and relevance of 18th century history, society, ideas, culture and styles in the 21st century. Alongside reverent homages and playful pastiches are genres and media revolutionised and popularised in the 18th century, including botanical art, landscapes, portraits, prints and ceramics.
Costume, accessories and the representation and roles of women are also popular themes – which is fitting as the exhibition honours Queen Caroline, who possessed great intellect, culture, personal charm and political influence. In her husband’s absences, she acted as Regent or Protector of the Realm.
Also on display are works created for the exhibition by the gallery’s artist in residence Michael Coldman. His constructions made from found, recycled and second-hand objects are transformed into three-dimensional scenes examining Georgian life and Queen Caroline and her Court. These often humorous works are complemented by a choice selection of 18th century caricatures by British artists Hogarth, Smith and Gillray from the Richmond Borough Art Collection.
Also there is…
‘Be(hold)’, (Porcelain, metal cage and gold) 2014
“Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”
Mary Wollstonecraft, from ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects’ (1792)
Take timeout from all that; enjoy the exhibition, have a cup of tea and be the wonder that is you.