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Grant number: FT-254686-17

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Jennifer Grant Germann
Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY 14850-7002)

A Study of the Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, an 18th-century British Artwork

Preparation of two scholarly articles related to the double portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, a British painting from the late 18th century at Scone Palace, Scotland.

The investigation into the Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray engages questions about identity construction in portraiture in Georgian Britain. This anonymous portrait presents them as cousins and subjects, but it uses imagery that denied subjectivity to black figures in art. It presents them together at Kenwood, the family villa, where it was displayed. My interdisciplinary project examines the contradictory imagery by situating the portrait and their lives within the circuits of global exchange, colonialism, and slavery, as well as within the structures of gender, race, and social rank in Great Britain and its empire. I propose to do research for two journal articles that will examine this portrait, attendant portraits in general, and eighteenth-century identity construction in visual representations. This project will contribute to the essential widening of art history’s scope to include new subjects who have been historically marginalized in the field.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 9/30/2017