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Story of a Portrait François-Xavier Fabre’s Lord Holland Topic Slide # Title Page 1 Table of Contents 2 Biography of Lord Holland 3 Holland’s Early Politics 4 The Political Atmosphere of Europe 5 Political Cartoons of the Whigs 6

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Story of a portrait l.jpg

Story of a Portrait

François-Xavier Fabre’s Lord Holland


Table of contents l.jpg

TopicSlide #

Title Page 1

Table of Contents 2

Biography of Lord Holland 3

Holland’s Early Politics 4

The Political Atmosphere of Europe 5

Political Cartoons of the Whigs 6

The Grand Tour 7

Commissioning of the Portrait 8

Biography of Fabre 9-10

Why Fabre? 11

Social Factors 12

Political Factors 13

Neoclassicism

Aesthetics 14

Comparing Fabre and David 15

Other Paintings 16

Topic Slide #

Themes 17

Creation of the Portrait 18

Iconography 19

Hair 20

Clothing 21

Color 22

Ring 23

Chair 24

Background 25-26

Other versions of the painting 27

Provenance 28

Image Summary 29

Bibliography 30

Table of Contents


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A Whig is Born

Henry Richard Fox, Third Lord Holland

  • Born November 1773, Orphaned at the age of 5

  • Raised by his Uncle Charles James Fox, who was the leader of the Whig party

  • Uncle influenced his future in politics.

  • Holland was otherwise extremely shy and introverted.


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Holland’s Early Politics

  • The Whig party was a liberal political affiliation situated in England

  • Charles Fox (pictured behind) turned the Whig faction into a political party called the Foxites

  • At an early age, Holland was on his way to taking his place as the head of the Whig Party

  • The Holland House became the center of Whig society and politics

    • The ideals discussed within the Holland House greatly influenced and shaped Holland’s thoughts.


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The Political Atmosphere

  • The French Revolution altered Europe by replacing the monarchy in France with republicanism,

    • Causes of Revolution: poor economic situation, high rate of unemployment, unmanageable national debt caused by Louis XVI's enormous amounts of spending, religious intolerance, and a rise of enlightened ideas

  • The French Revolution was nearing the end of the Radical phase

    • 1794- Robespierre executed and Reign of Terror was brought to an end

  • The Whigs were in support of the French Revolution because it supported their defense of political liberty against the uncontrolled power of the monarch.

  • The members of the Whig party believed in constitutional monarchism instead of absolutism.



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The Grand Tour

  • The Grand Tour marked an educational rite of passage for wealthy individuals. On their extravagant tours of the European Continent, students were exposed to contemporary and ancient art and architecture as well as fashionable European society .

  • 1791-1796- Lord Holland completed a Grand Tour by visiting France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Denmark.

    • On the Grand Tour, he met his future wife Elizabeth Vassall

  • In order to commemorate this journey, many commissioned portraits.


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Commissioning the Portrait

  • Lord Holland commissioned several portraits from Fabre

  • Portraiture often functioned as a representation of the stability and continuity of an aristocratic family’s heritage and wealth.

    • They were commonly ordered during important events such as the Grand Tour.


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Fabre

  • Born at Montpellier on April 1, 1766

  • Trained under Jean Coustou and, after moving to Paris, the master of French Neoclassical painting, Jacques-Louis David.

    • Awarded the Prix de Rome in 1787 for Nebuchadnezzar Slaying the Sons of Zedekiah

    • His winning the Prix de Rome earned him a place at the French Academy in Rome


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Fabre continued

  • The revolution caused the disbandment of the French Academy in Rome

    • Government no longer had enough money to commission history paintings

    • Portraiture became the necessary art to make money

    • Fabre moved to Florence and became a renowned portrait painter

      • In Florence, Holland and Fabre met.


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Why Fabre?

Holland’s decision to commission Fabre for his portrait was probably a result of the social connection and political similarities between the two men as well as the popularity of the Neoclassical style in which Fabre painted.


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The Social Scene

  • During the Enlightenment, salons were a major component of aristocratic social life.

    • This allowed the interaction between political figures, such as Holland, and artists like Fabre

    • Holland and Fabre met through the salon of the countess of Albany, Louise de Stolberg

  • Fabre had a good reputation within the Florentine social circles and among English travelers.

  • The Hollands viewed themselves as patrons of the arts due to their proclivity toward international knowledge of arts.

    • Holland probably chose to patronize Fabre because he was an accomplished student of the famous David.


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Political

  • Although Fabre was against the revolution, his style of painting had political ties with the ideals of the revolution and Whigs.

  • The Whigs supported the anti-despotic and aristocratic ideals of Neoclassicism

    • Detested Gothic style because of its affiliation with autocracy and religious superstition.

    • Romanticism contained too much emotion to be reasonable and was sympathetic to lower classes.


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Neoclassicism: Aesthetics

  • Fabre’s strict Neoclassical style followed his mentor’s (David’s) style

  • Aesthetic Characteristics of Neoclassical painting:

    • Mix of saturated primary colors and subdued background colors

    • Strong lines with no blurring

    • Use of Greco-Roman subject matter

    • Moral-didactic subject matter


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Fabre and David: Similarities in Style

  • Bold primary colors in the foreground

  • Neutral, subdued background

  • Use of strong, solid lines

  • Both men wear similar clothing

  • Emphasis on the hands as a telling sign of occupation or personality

Portrait of Lord Holland by François-Xavier Fabre (1795)

Self Portrait by Jacques-Louis David (1794)


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Other Neoclassical Paintings

Count Henri-Amédée de Turenneby Jacques-Louis David (1816)

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David (1784-1785)


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Neoclassical Themes

  • Neoclassicism coincided with the revolutionary idealization of the ancient Greco-Roman society and government:

    • Society was seen as perfect

    • Representative government provided liberty and stability

    • Celebration of masculine virtues


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Creation of the Portrait

  • Holland commissioned the portrait around the year 1795, shortly after meeting Fabre.

  • Different symbols within the three versions of the painting show a close collaboration between the artist and the sitter.


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Iconography

  • While the items in the painting are a representation of Lord Holland, they also play a role in depicting a particular character that both the artist and sitter wanted to portray.

  • Lord Holland probably took full advantage of this opportunity to illustrate himself as the rightful heir to the Whig Party

    • This is seen through his hair, clothing, and accessories.


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Hair

  • Holland’s short hair style was referred to as a “Brutus crop” after the famous betrayer, or “a la guillotine” after the beheading device used during the French Revolution

  • Wigs were associated with tradition and counter-revolutionary sentiments.

    • 1795: tax on powder for wigs was implemented –Tories continued to wear wigs to support the government, while Whigs wore short/natural hair to support the revolution

  • Analysis has shown that Holland may have originally worn a wig, or at least had longer hair, in the portrait.

    • The portrait was most likely altered to illustrate Holland’s political sentiments.


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Clothing

Holland’s dress is dignified without being overly ornate like the dress coat on the right (1770) that many aristocrats wore in their portraits.

“Solitaitre” bow from Diderot’s Encyclopedia

  • Typical fashion of a Whig at the time: short coat, pants, and a gold waistcoat.

    • Clothing is refined yet simple to suggest equality among all revolutionaries, rich and poor

    • Revolutionary principles of liberty and freedom carried over into fashion, as the revolutionaries broke away from traditional rules of formality


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Color

  • In this portrait, color itself can be considered a symbol

  • Colors and their political association:

    • Court Party: blue.

    • Independent (Anti-Union): dark grey.

    • Squadrone Party: green.

    • Tory Party: red.

    • Whig Party: yellow.

  • Holland’s yellow waistcoat shows his loyalty to the Whig party

  • The dark, rich color of his coat also shows his support for the Revolution.


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    Ring

    • Holland’s cameo ring is believed to symbolize multiple aspects of his life.

      • It can display his loyalty to antiquity because cameos often showed classical figures.

      • It could be a symbol of his intent to marry Elizabeth Vassall, which was a very controversial issue at the time.

      • It also demonstrates a certain family legacy as rings during the time were often passed through families as symbols of rank and prestige.

    Cameo ring, like Holland’s, engraved with a classical figure.


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    The Chair

    • The chair in the portrait is a Directoire-style chair

    • Inspired by classical antecedents

    • Intricately carved animal (appears to be a lion or a dragon) by Holland’s hip stands out as the most prominent part of the chair

    • European taste for neoclassical style


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    Background

    • Sparse background with a subdued palette, clear, well defined lines and a realistic appearance– common for Neoclassical paintings

    • The engaged pilaster on the wall is the only detail in the background

      • Engaged pilaster is reminiscent of Greco-Roman Architecture

    • Not painted in Grand Tour destinations (ruins, the Parthenon, etc.) like most tourists


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    Ancient ruins were often used as backgrounds in neoclassical portraits, especially portraits of artists or aristocrats on the Grand tour.


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    Other Versions of the Painting portraits, especially portraits of artists or aristocrats on the Grand tour.

    National Portrait Gallery, London

    Current Study 

    Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill

    • Three versions of the painting exist and in each version, the hair varies in length and style.

    • The differences show a collaboration between the artist and the sitter to create an image that characterizes Holland as the heir of the Whig Party.


    Provenance l.jpg
    Provenance portraits, especially portraits of artists or aristocrats on the Grand tour.

    • The painting was originally passed on to Caroline Fox (granddaughter of the 1st Lord Holland) and her husband General Sir Napier

    • Philip Napier (great-grandson of Caroline Fox) sold estate and painting to Brian Thompson in 1966

    • 1982 auctioned at Sotheby’s to Colnaghi

    • Ackland purchased painting on July 14, 1987


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    Summary of Artwork Used in Presentation portraits, especially portraits of artists or aristocrats on the Grand tour.

    • Slide 1

    • Fabre, François-Xavier. " Henry Richard Vassall Fox, 3rd Baron Holland."

    • Music: Mozart’s Poco adagio/ Sinfonie Nr. 36

    • Slide 3

    • Reynolds, Joshua. Charles James Fox

    • Slide 4 (clockwise from left side)

    • Unknown political artists

    • Slide 6

    • Panini, Giovanni Paolo. " View of Modern Rome."

    • Slide 8

    • Fabre, François-Xavier. "Lucien Bonaparte."

    • Slide 9

    • Fabre, François-Xavier. "Portrait of an Official, Said to Be l'Intendant Delonay, Standing Above Florence."

    • Slide 10

    • Fabre, François-Xavier. "Portrait of Vittorio Alfieri."

    • Slide 11

    • Troy, Jean-François. " A reading of Molière."

    • Slide 12

    • David, Jacques-Louis. "The Tennis Court Oath, Versailles."

    • Slide 13

    • Jaques-Louis David Oath of the Horatii

    • Slide 21

    • Right side: G F Watts “Portrait of Lady Holland”

    • Slide 25

    • The Ackland Museum


    Bibliography l.jpg
    Bibliography portraits, especially portraits of artists or aristocrats on the Grand tour.

    • David, Jacques-Louis. “Count Henri-Amédée de Turenne.” Image Gallery Artstor. Firefox. UNC University Libraries. 9/8/2006 <http://www.artstor.org>.

    • Dunlap, William. “Major David Van Horne.” Image Gallery Artstor. Firefox. UNC University Libraries. 9/8/2006 <http://www.artstor.org>.

    • Naujoks S., Natasha. “Lord Holland and Francois-Xavier Fabre: The Politics of Neoclassical Portraiture.” Blackboard. November 2006. <https://blackboard.unc.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab=courses&url=/bin/commocourse.pl?course_id=_196631_1>

    • "Neoclassicism." Wikipedia. 20 11 2006. 22 Nov 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoclassicism>.

    • http://www.creativelatitude.com/articles/aricles_lamacusa_color.html

    • http://www.sassyclassics.com/cameos.htm

    • http://www.costumes.org/History/100pages/18thmencut.htm

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Parliament_of_Great_Britain


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