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Bluestocking circle


33 People in sitter grouping:

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.

James Boswell

James Boswell

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

Edmund Burke

1729-1797
Statesman; orator; author
Sitter associated with 105 portraits
Elizabeth Carter

Elizabeth Carter

1717-1806
Scholar and writer
Sitter associated with 9 portraits
Fanny Burney

Fanny Burney

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

Maria Edgeworth

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

David Garrick

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

Samuel Johnson

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

Angelica Kauffmann

1741-1807
Painter
Sitter in 9 portraits | Artist associated with 22 portraits
Mary Moser

Mary Moser

1744-1819
Artist; founding member of the Royal Academy
Sitter in 6 portraits
Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

1815-1852
Mathematician and computer pioneer
Sitter associated with 5 portraits
Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

1731-1791
Historian and political polemicist
Sitter in 17 portraits
Hannah More

Hannah More

1745-1833
Religious writer
Sitter in 11 portraits
Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole

1717-1797
Writer and collector
Sitter associated with 20 portraits
Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale)

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

Sir Joshua Reynolds

1723-1792
Painter and first President of the Royal Academy
Sitter associated with 39 portraits | Artist associated with 1414 portraits
Benjamin Stillingfleet

Benjamin Stillingfleet

1702-1771
Naturalist and writer
Sitter in 4 portraits
Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft

1759-1797
Writer and feminist; mother of Mary Shelley; wife of William Godwin
Sitter in 6 portraits
James Beattie

James Beattie

1735-1803
Poet and philosopher
Sitter in 4 portraits