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33 People in sitter grouping: Bluestocking circle

From the early 1750s, the rich socialite Elizabeth Montagu began to play host, along with others, to a new kind of cultural society. The Blue Stockings, or Blues as they where first called were a group of privileged women, determined to discuss matters such as Art, Language and Literature, topics which had previously been a male only domain. It is thought the term Blue Stocking came from one of the society's invited male guests, Benjamin Stillingfleet, who wore the less formal blue leg attire to attend a meeting, instead of the highly fashionable and expensive black style. In this way the name came to stand for substance over style, and female intellectuals were proud to associate themselves with the group and its values. However their pride in opening the field of education to women was not widely shared, and by the 19th century, the label of Blue Stocking had become one of a dowdy, unmarriable woman, ridiculed in society and the press.

Samuel Johnson

1709-1784
Poet, critic and lexicographer
Sitter associated with 50 portraits

Horace Walpole

1717-1797
Writer and collector
Sitter associated with 20 portraits

Sir Joshua Reynolds

1723-1792
Painter and first President of the Royal Academy
Sitter associated with 38 portraits | Artist associated with 1413 portraits

Anna Letitia Barbauld (née Aikin)

1743-1825
Poet and writer
Sitter in 6 portraits

William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath

1684-1764
Statesman
Sitter in 15 portraits

James Beattie

1735-1803
Poet and philosopher
Sitter in 4 portraits

James Boswell

1740-1795
Biographer of Dr Johnson
Sitter associated with 16 portraits

Henrietta Maria Bowdler

1754-1830
Author
Sitter in 2 portraits

Edmund Burke

1729 or 1730-1797
Statesman
Sitter associated with 103 portraits

Elizabeth Carter

1717-1806
Scholar and writer
Sitter associated with 9 portraits

Hester Chapone (née Mulso)

1727-1801
Writer
Sitter in 3 portraits

Frances d'Arblay ('Fanny Burney')

1752-1840
Diarist and novelist; daughter of Charles Burney
Sitter in 5 portraits

Maria Edgeworth

1768-1849
Novelist; daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth
Sitter associated with 9 portraits

David Garrick

1717-1779
Actor, playwright and theatre manager
Sitter associated with 56 portraits

Eva Maria Garrick (née Veigel)

1724-1822
Dancer; wife of David Garrick
Sitter in 5 portraits

Elizabeth Griffith

1727-1793
Playwright and novelist
Sitter in 3 portraits

Angelica Kauffmann

1741-1807
Painter
Sitter in 7 portraits | Artist associated with 21 portraits

Charlotte Lennox (née Ramsay)

1720-1804
Writer
Sitter in 3 portraits

Mary Moser

1744-1819
Artist; founding member of the Royal Academy
Sitter associated with 5 portraits

Ada Lovelace

1815-1852
Mathematician and computer pioneer
Sitter associated with 5 portraits

Sir George Fulke Lyttelton, 2nd Bt

1763-1828
Politician; MP for several constituencies
Sitter in 1 portrait

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

1731-1791
Historian and political polemicist
Sitter in 17 portraits

Elizabeth Montagu (née Robinson)

1718-1800
Writer and leader of society
Sitter in 11 portraits

Hannah More

1745-1833
Religious writer
Sitter in 11 portraits

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

1741-1821
Writer and friend of Dr Johnson
Sitter in 14 portraits

Anna Seward

1742-1809
Writer and poet
Sitter associated with 4 portraits

Elizabeth Ann Sheridan (née Linley)

1754-1792
Singer and writer
Sitter in 14 portraits

Benjamin Stillingfleet

1702-1771
Naturalist and writer
Sitter in 4 portraits

Elizabeth Vesey

1715?-1791
Blue-stocking and hostess
Sitter in 1 portrait

Anna Williams

1706-1783
Poet and companion of Samuel Johnson
Sitter in 2 portraits

Helen Maria Williams

1762-1827
Writer
Sitter in 1 portrait

Mary Wollstonecraft

1759-1797
Writer and feminist; wife of William Godwin
Sitter in 6 portraits

Ann Yearsley

1756-1806
Poet
Sitter in 4 portraits