Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Douglass Thomson

Committee Member 1

Candy Schille

Committee Member 2

Gautam Kundu

Abstract

A prodigious professional poet admired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; a courtesan idealized for her unparalleled beauty; a famed actress and mistress to royalty known to live beyond her means in an era of exploding print culture: Mary Robinson found herself portrayed incongruously in motley of mediums. While the leading portrait artists of the day, Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, were painting dazzling portraits of Mrs. Robinson, she found herself lampooned in the satirical cartoons of James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson. The multifarious representations of Mary Robinson seem an apt commentary on her tumultuous life. Intriguing in their own right, these depictions present even more interesting issues. How did Mary Robinson respond to the images? How have these visual artists shaped our reception of Mary Robinson as an artist? How did the schism between the representations affect Robinson's art and own self-image?

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