"Seeing what's right in front of us in portraits from the past"
November 4, 2019 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Patricia A. Matthew, "Look Before You Leap" (Lapham's Quarterly, 11/4/2019): "Louise-Renée de Kéroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, is the subject of fifteen portraits in London's National Portrait Gallery. She is alone in fourteen of them ... In the one National Portrait Gallery painting where the duchess is not alone she stands next to a black child. A curatorial note suggests the little girl is primarily there as a status symbol" [via @Bigger6Romantix]. By the same author: "AbLit: Course Materials" (patriciamatthew.blog, 2/7/2019), "Serving Tea for a Cause" (Lapham's Quarterly, 2/28/2018), "On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen" (The Atlantic, 7/23/2017), "What Is Faculty Diversity Worth to a University?" (The Atlantic, 11/23/2016), and "Teaching While Black" (The New Inquiry, 2/18/2014).
posted by Wobbuffet (2 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Many thanks for these links, Wobbuffet. I recall reading, I think in one of Maria Edgeworth's Letters, her mention of an abolitionist friend who carried his own (East Indian) sugar around with him so he wouldn't have to use his hosts' slavery-tainted West Indian stuff: it hadn't occurred to me before then that attempts at 'ethical consumerism' went back that far - I was particularly interested to read more on that subject in "Serving Tea for a Cause".
posted by misteraitch at 1:59 AM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Misteraitch: the boycott of West Indian sugar was, in fact, a major part of the campaign to abolish the slave trade in England. A very readable general-audience book on the topic is Adam Hochschild's Bury the Chains.
posted by praemunire at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

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