The Stuart Image
Title Details

160 Pages

24 x 17 cm

116 colour, 10 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

The Stuart Image

English Portraiture 1603 to 1649

by Roy Strong

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Based on a lifetime's work in the field, Sir Roy Strong offers an expert and engaging new look at portrait painting in Stuart England, studying the sitters as much as the artists.
Sir Roy Strong has been writing for over half a century on the painters of the courts of James I and Charles I. While taking account of the mass of scholarly work that has appeared during that time, this book offers a very different approach to the subject. Until now, the universal method has been to look at the artists, in particular van Dyck, and to see half a century of painting through the six years when the latter was in England. Instead, we are offered a view based on portraits and their sitters, and particularly on the dramatic change in their attitudes, from the still medieval (if Protestant) aesthetic of the Elizabethan age to the ambiguity of one which replaced that aesthetic by one based on the Catholic baroque of European art.
Portraits after all are permanent records of how a sitter wished to be seen by posterity as well as in his or her own period. The obsession with the painter and with attribution has tended to obscure that very basic fact. They are inevitably self-fashioning images that chart the new mythology not only of a new dynasty, the Stuarts, but also of a burgeoning and assertive aristocracy. Unlike their spectacular court masques, however, which were gone in an evening of glory, the portraits are still with us - or, rather, those that have survived. Through them we are able to trace a new iconography for a new dynasty and also an aesthetic revolution which moved away from the Elizabethan world of ambiguity and hieroglyphs to one set in space defined by the new optics of the Renaissance. But the title, The Stuart Image, is designed to emphasise that above all what we see is the image and not the reality.
Prologue: The Empire of Great Britain 
1 The Scene Changeth: The Optical Revolution 
2 The Temple of St George: Jacobean and Caroline Chivalry 
3 'I ame much in loofe with pictures': The Discovery of Art and Artists 
4 Honour and Virtue: The Creation of Dynasties
5 In Heroic Virtue is Figured the King's Majesty: Platonic Fables and Van Dyck
Epilogue: 'I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown': King Charles the Martyr

ROY STRONG is one of the best-known figures in the art history field, having been the director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1967-73 and of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1974-87.



March 2023

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Title Details

160 Pages

2.4 x 1.7 cm

116 colour, 10 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press