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No, not really

‘Real-life Bridgerton’ painting to go on display at Buckingham Palace
The 1745 artwork features a young black woman suggesting the colour-blind casting of the Netflix drama had more than a kernel of truth

That British society contained the tinted at that time is well known.

That we didn’t have a tinted Queen, nor Dukes and Earls and all that is also well known. It’s even true that society back then was, more than a bit, colour blind in that it was your social position that mattered, not the colour of your skin (nor, sadly, the quality of your character). In some – and only some – ways the Georgians were better on race than the Victorians. John Company often had local wives out in India, something the Memsahibs stamped down on firmly once the steasmship allowed them to get out there.

12 thoughts on “No, not really”

  1. The composition suggests the unknown artist of the “English school” not only wanted the young black woman to be noticed by their audience but for her to carry a clear message.

    “This woman stands out in the canvas by being the only one making eye contact with the viewer,” said Ms Marché. “It’s as if she is saying ‘Yes, we’re here too. We’re a part of all this’.”

    Well, I suppose that’s one interpretation can be derived from it. Amongst several others. One also notices a women adjusting her stockings & a dog having a crap. Should we interpret these as well? And that’s just in the one portion of the canvas.

  2. As a crusty old white geezer, I have to confess my attitude to producers adopting the SIR Lenny Henry solution is exactly the same as a BLM “ACTIVIST” would be to Benedict Cumberbatch playing Martin Luther King. I nod sagely and think; “Yes…”

  3. It’s all lies. Historians are part of the establishment and establishment opinion is that black people made a significant contribution to building Britain, which is largely untrue (unless you include the Commonwealth). Hence, amplifying the rare person like Mary Seacole.

    Someone saying that “well, yes, the odd lady went to the Indies and came back with a black maid” wouldn’t fit with The Message.

  4. BoM4 – breakdancing on a piece of cardboard and/or being featured in 95% of British advertisements *is* a contribution, you bigot.

  5. @BoM4
    I’d say if you study that painting carefully, there’s quite a few messages in it. But I expect the messages were intended for the time it was painted & would have been interpreted somewhat differently from the way they they might be interpreted now. I suspect the entire composition is less than complimentary.

  6. BoM4 – pro tip: you don’t have to be white. After Greg Dyke informed us that English people are “disgustingly white”, I started identifying as a black woman of colour.

    It’s great, as long as you know how to politely rebuff the sex-crazed homeless wizard Jeremy Corbyn.

    BiS – Well, the painting is literally called “The Case of the Missing Hair Straighteners”, so…

  7. I’ve been watching “1066: A year To Conquer England” and apparently Robert De Beaumont was black. That is such a distinctive fact surely it should have been mentioned somewhere in my history books.

  8. BiS: “I suspect the entire composition is less than complimentary.”

    It is, especially if it’s done in the bottom-left corner… 😉
    A lot of those thematic paintings were very much “ritualised” and allegorical, and the bottom left is ..not a good place to be in.
    It’s the corner for satire and vices. Which if you look at what’s depicted there, pretty obvious.

    The lady showing leg adjusting her stockings, being shoulder-stared at by the “decent lady” , who is actually protecting her from sight of the others, so she is a Madam..

    The two scots being engaged in “witty banter” with their plaids way up high and…fancy.. and one presenting his sword to the other.. One can guess…

    The bloke chatting up the *bird* ( under his arm..), while she holds her fan in a firm “no” code, and yet obviously blushing..
    ( soooo much fan-code in that painting…)

    The obviously-some-official (the huge badge) directing a “common man” with his arm in the “my goodness” pose, while at the same time reaching for/protecting his purse pocket.. ( this one’s tricky and could be highly specific, or form a combination with the bird being chatted up. Much mileage there..)

    The very mangy dog “belongs” to the “guard” next to it. With said guard being hot and bothered with the lady “adjusting her stockings”, and not noticing the mutt crapping the place he’s supposed to guard. Or for that matter the other mutts running amok around him in the total composition..

    And finally the Lady walking with the black woman dolled out in ball attire outdoors.
    If you take the totality of the painting, she’s being escorted/walked off from the stageby a rather strict looking matron.
    No doubt the fact that she’s not wearing gloves with the ballgown has significance. You can spot a couple other occasions in…situations elsewhere in the painting.

    But yeah… The painter put her in there because of “inclusivity”….. /rolleyes..

  9. Yes Grikath. There’s a couple out in the field being pursued by the cow-man that’s quite fun.
    But yes. If you want the actual message of the painting “Assembled ne’er-do-wells & even a ni**er would just about cover it.”

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