Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Thomas Hazlehurst (England, about 1735/40-1821/25)



Figure 1.-- This Thomas Hazelhurst watercolour on ivory minature depicts the Right Honorable J.A. Plantagenet Stewart. He lools to be about 7-8 years old. The portrait is an example of the minature work done for wealthy English society. The portrait is undated, but the Empire-style dress suggets it was done in the early-1800s.

Thomas Hazlehurst was a notable English miniature painter. He was born in Liverpool (about 1735/40). We notice different dates fir his birth and death. We know very little about his childhood. He was a pupil of famed English portratist Joshua Reynolds. Hazelhursr exhibited at the Society for Promoting Painting and Design in Liverpool for most of his long active working life (1760-1818). He also exhibited at the Liverpool Academy for a few years late in his career (1810-12). His work is decribed as 'highly finished'. This means I think that his paintings were so relaistic that it might be taken for a photograph. Quite an accomplishment for a minaturist. The portrait here of the Right Honorable J.A. Plantagenet Stewart is a good example of his work (figure 1). Minatures were in great demand in the era before photography. Another art expert describes Hazelhurst's work as of 'great excellence". We notice some beautiful images. As a result of his skill and reputation his work was in great demand. We notice images of various aristocrats and other affluent individuals and their children. Severl important British museums hold his work. He is said to have made more than 20,000 from his paintings, a substantial sum in the 18th century. He reportedly made some poor investments, presumably late in life, and died in poverty.

Thomas Hazelhurst (1735/40-1821/25)

Thomas Hazlehurst was a notable English miniature painter. He was born in Liverpool (about 1735/40). We notice different dates fir his birth and death. We know very little about his childhood. He was a pupil of famed English portratist Joshua Reynolds. Hazelhursr exhibited at the Society for Promoting Painting and Design in Liverpool for most of his long active working life (1760-1818). He also exhibited at the Liverpool Academy for a few years late in his career (1810-12). His work is decribed as 'highly finished'. This means I think that his paintings were so relaistic that it might be taken for a photograph. Quite an accomplishment for a minaturist. The portrait here of the Right Honorable J.A. Plantagenet Stewart is a good example of his work (figure 1). Another art expert describes Hazelhurst's work as of 'great excellence". We notice some beautiful images. As a result of his skill and reputation his work was in great demand. We notice images of various aristocrats and other affluent individuals and their children. Severl important British museums hold his work. He is said to have made more than 20,000 from his paintings, a substantial sum in the 18th century. He reportedly made some poor investments, presumably late in life, and died in poverty.

Minatures

Minatures were in great demand in the era before photography. Minatures allowed peopke to have images of loved ones with them. Minature work required great skill. Miniatures were commonly done in gouache, watercolour, or enamel. Minatures are first reported in the mid-15th century. We are nit sure why they did not appear earlier, but until the Renaisance in Italy, European painting ws fairly primitive. It may be that it was not until the 14th-15th century that Europeans had the skill level to produce effective minatures. Minatures were very popular during tge 16th-mid-19th century. They had a rbge of uses. They allowed peopke to carry images of loved ones. Also they were a way of introducing people to one another, especially aristicrats who often had to find mates at some distance. Soldiers and sailors liked to carry miniatures of people of whoch they were fond. It was common for omen to wear lockets with images of her husband or children. The first minatures were done on stretched vellum. Gradually new medium developed. Minaturists during the second half of the 17th century began using vitreous enamel on copper. And then during the 18th century, watercolour on ivory became standard. The popularity of minatures declined in the mid-19th century. First Dgurreotypes and then other formats became available at a fraction of the cost of a minature. Thus the photographic studios began putting the Minaturist out if business. Of course artists began develooing styles like impressionism or even more abstract visions that photograophy could not match. But the people who once wanted minatures preferred the relism offered by photogrraphy.

The Right Honorable J.A. Plantagenet Stewart (1795?- )

The boy here was apparently the Right Honorable J.A. Plantagenet Stewart (figure 1). Some more modern authors today are less sure about this identification. We know nothing about him, except his name and what can be deduced from the image. His name suggests discent from two of the most importnt British royal families. Younger boys since the late medieval period wore dresses like their sisters. The age of breeching varied from family to family and over time. Boys from well-to-do famikies were commonly breeched later than working-class boys. As school became more common in Europe, this set an age for breeching as boys were commonly breeched for beginning school. Boys from wealthy families might be tutored at home and thus could be breeched later than other children. We note boys being breeched from about 3-6 years of age. The age tended to decline in the 19th century. The expanding importance of schools were a factor. The boy here looks a bit older than the children we normally see wearing dresses., although our early-19th century archive is limited because photograph was not yet invented. He looks to be about 7-8 years of age, somewhat old to still be wearing dresses. He wears an Empire-style dress, a popular style in the early-19th century. It is made of white muslin, a low drawstring neck, short sleeves (sometimes puffed but not in this case), and high-waisted. This was a style worn by both girls and women. The Empire style was fashionable for about three decades, It marked a revolution in women;s fashion, giving them a degree of freedom not seen earlier or for many decades afterwards. The portrait is undated, but the Empire-style dress suggets it was done in the very early-1800s. The 1810s is possible as the artist was still active and the Empire style was still popular. Unfortunately we can't be sure because we don't know just when J.A. was born.









HBC





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Created: 2:12 AM 2/11/2012
Last updated: 4:40 AM 2/11/2012