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Tony Grist

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Penelope Boothby [Oct. 23rd, 2011|11:05 am]
Tony Grist
Ashbourne again.

This is the tomb of Penelope Boothby, who died in 1791, aged 6. Her father, Sir Brooke Boothby, was a significant figure in the history of the Enlightenment- the first publisher of Rousseau's Confessions and a colleague of Erasmus Darwin's. He idolised his daughter, raised her according to Rousseau's principles and was utterly devastated by her death. 

Penelope was painted by Reynolds and (posthumously) by Fuseli. The effigy on her tomb is by Thomas Banks. 

"She was in form and intellect most exquisite. The unfortunate Parents ventured their all on the frail Bark. And the wreck was total"
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-10-23 11:01 am (UTC)
Isn't this a beautiful piece? Setting aside the tragedy, of course. I like the sunbeam you've captured as it strikes the tomb behind. It's a nice warm contrast to all that ghostly white in the foreground.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-23 12:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

The sunbeam is one of those "happy accidents".
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2011-10-23 11:17 am (UTC)
Oh, that is so sad... :(

The little girl has been depicted so naturally, compared to the stiff and formal tombs in the background.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-23 12:45 pm (UTC)
It demonstrates how attitudes to childhood were changing in the late 18th century. The child is no longer an adjunct of her parents or a miniature adult in need of training, but a valued person in her own right.
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[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2011-10-23 01:16 pm (UTC)
Nice effigies!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-23 01:54 pm (UTC)
Ashbourne has a wonderful collection.

I do love a good effigy!
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[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2011-10-23 02:00 pm (UTC)
Yep, a good effigy is hard to beat!!
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2011-10-23 02:57 pm (UTC)
Oh my but that's beautiful and sad...both the tomb and the story.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-23 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yes,

I've spent much of today looking at 18th century pictures of children. The 18th century was when children became people in their own right.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2011-10-23 03:38 pm (UTC)
The effigy on her tomb is by Thomas Banks.

Everyone else stiff as prayer and her sleeping. That's very striking.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-23 04:20 pm (UTC)
The 18th century was when everything changed...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-23 04:24 pm (UTC)
It's beautiful.

And in its day it was a radical statement. It said that a girl of six was a person who mattered. People hadn't really thought that way before.
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[User Picture]From: chochiyo_sama
2011-10-23 07:12 pm (UTC)
It is indeed a sad story--but what a beautiful and loving tribute to the small girl...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-10-24 10:12 am (UTC)
Groundbreaking too. I doubt if there had ever been a monument to a child quite like this before.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2011-10-24 12:46 pm (UTC)
Wonderful image of a poignant subject.
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