Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
AN EXHIBITION exploring the image and identity of the independent creative woman in 18th Century Britain, Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestocking, will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from March 13 to June 15, 2008.
It does this by examining the impact of the original ‘Bluestocking’ Circle, a group of women writers, artists and thinkers who were celebrated for forging new links between gender, learning and virtue in eighteenth-century Britain.
These women were not just brilliant they were exceptional, both for their individual accomplishments and for collectively breaking the boundaries of what women could be expected to undertake or achieve. To explore the world of the Bluestocking Circle, the exhibition includes famous paintings and rarely seen portraits, graphic satires and personal artefacts.
It also considers the way a wider range of bluestockings, such as the artist Angelica Kauffmann, historian Catharine Macaulay and early ‘feminist’ Mary Wollstonecraft, used portraiture to advance their work and their reputations in a period framed by the new possibilities introduced by the Enlightenment and the restrictions imposed in the age of revolution.
Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings, which will be on display in the Porter Gallery, is sponsored by BlackBerry.