Acting the Part: Emma Hamilton's Self-Fashioning and the Transgression of Class Boundaries

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/146673
Title:
Acting the Part: Emma Hamilton's Self-Fashioning and the Transgression of Class Boundaries
Author:
Sheets, Whitney Caitlin
Issue Date:
May-2010
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Emma Hamilton, an eighteenth‐century British social icon, rose from classless obscurity and an unconventional past to fame and widespread popularity among Britain's elite. Like contemporary eighteenth‐century British actresses who often struggled with associations with immorality, Emma too struggled to progress beyond the public's understanding of her as a prostitute or mistress. Emma can be viewed as similar to actresses, an association which serves to illuminate potential motives in portraits of Emma. Both Emma and actresses recognized the utility of portraiture in the reversal of their negative images and the construction of a public persona that more closely aligned them with the virtues assumed to be inherent in female members of the aristocratic class. Particularly in George Romney's portraits of Emma, her journey towards acceptance by the British social scene was in part the result of a conscious self‐fashioning and construction a public persona for Emma by both Emma and Romney. Romney's portraits of Emma reveal an image of her that deliberately imitates portraits of the social elite in terms of virtue and respectability while also incorporating the celebrity and glamour found in contemporary portraits of actresses into Emma's own portraits.
Type:
text; Electronic Thesis
Degree Name:
B.A.
Degree Level:
bachelors
Degree Program:
Honors College; Art History
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleActing the Part: Emma Hamilton's Self-Fashioning and the Transgression of Class Boundariesen_US
dc.creatorSheets, Whitney Caitlinen_US
dc.contributor.authorSheets, Whitney Caitlinen_US
dc.date.issued2010-05-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractEmma Hamilton, an eighteenth‐century British social icon, rose from classless obscurity and an unconventional past to fame and widespread popularity among Britain's elite. Like contemporary eighteenth‐century British actresses who often struggled with associations with immorality, Emma too struggled to progress beyond the public's understanding of her as a prostitute or mistress. Emma can be viewed as similar to actresses, an association which serves to illuminate potential motives in portraits of Emma. Both Emma and actresses recognized the utility of portraiture in the reversal of their negative images and the construction of a public persona that more closely aligned them with the virtues assumed to be inherent in female members of the aristocratic class. Particularly in George Romney's portraits of Emma, her journey towards acceptance by the British social scene was in part the result of a conscious self‐fashioning and construction a public persona for Emma by both Emma and Romney. Romney's portraits of Emma reveal an image of her that deliberately imitates portraits of the social elite in terms of virtue and respectability while also incorporating the celebrity and glamour found in contemporary portraits of actresses into Emma's own portraits.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen_US
thesis.degree.nameB.A.en_US
thesis.degree.levelbachelorsen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHonors Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineArt Historyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
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