WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Prime Article

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Prime Article

Last week it was handsome gents. It’s only fair that the ladies get their turn. And just like last week, it’s Sir Thomas Lawrence whose brush was busy with flattering feminine portraiture.

Prime Article

A handsome woman. From whip slang, meaning she is quite the thing, well done, and an excellent and bang up woman; a hell of a goer.

Honestly, I hope my gravestone reads “She was a hell of a goer.”

Portrait of Elizabeth, Mrs. Horsley Palmer, date unknown, Sotheby’s.

Portrait of Elizabeth Farren by Sir Thomas Lawrence, before 1791, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Conyngham by Sir Thomas Lawrence, between 1821-1824, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

Portrait of Lady Jane Long by Sir Thomas Lawrence, unknown date, Public Domain.

Portrait of Lady Emily, Lady Berkeley by Sir Thomas Lawrence, before 1791, location unknown.

Portrait of Miss Caroline Fry by Sir Thomas Lawrence, between 1820-1830, Brooklyn Museum.

Louisa Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrook by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1804, Christie’s.

Portrait of a Lady by Sir Thomas Lawrence, early 1790s, Denver Art Museum.

One of Sir Thomas’s most famous works:

Sarah Barrett Moulton: Pinkie by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1794, Huntington Library.

And one not by Sir Thomas, but in his style. And yet another Elizabeth.

Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower by Henry T. Greenhead in the style of Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1891, Private Collection.

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Swell

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Swell

Men men men men, manly men men men!
Men men men men, manly men men men!
Men men men men, manly men, oo hoo hoo, hoo hoo, oo!
~ lyrics to the theme song from the television show Two and a Half Men

Just to clarify, this week’s post is about men.

Swell

A gentleman. A well-dressed man. Sometimes, in alluding to a particular gentleman, whose name is not requisite, he is styled the swell, meaning the person who is the object of your discourse, or attention.

Based on caricatures and portraits of royalty, some might say the Regency period is an odd era in which to set romances featuring dashing heroes, but there are plenty of handsome gents upon which to base a swoon or two. And Sir Thomas Lawrence painted nearly all of them, the lucky devil. Whether it was Sir Thomas’s flattering brush or the good genes of his subject, we may never know.

Portrait of an Artist, Michael Martin Drolling, 1819, Wikimedia Commons.

Portrait of Hart Davis Jr by Sir Thomas Lawrence, date unknown, Private Collection.

The 4th Earl of Aberdeen by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1829, Private Collection.

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778-1868) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1825, National Portrait Gallery.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, date unknown, Wikimedia Commons.

Frederick John Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, before 1830, Wikimedia Commons.

Sir Humphry Davy by Sir Thomas Lawrence, before 1830, National Portrait Gallery.

Thomas Campbell by Sir Thomas Lawrence, before 1830, National Portrait Gallery.

And finally, while scouring the web for devilishly handsome Regency era men, I came across this anachronistic beauty. It’s description reads “The Earl of Merton by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo,” according to Wikimedia Commons. But if I can’t spot my favorite JJ Feild at twenty paces, I’m no judge of “artwork.” Well played, Wikimedia Commons prankster.

The Earl of Merton by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo, according to Wikimedia Commons…but sharp and wiser eyes know this is JJ Feild portraying Major John Andre in the AMC television series Turn: Washington’s Spies.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Prime Article

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Prime Article

Continuing along with the theme of August as Romance Awareness Month, I thought to look at bonny ladies who draw attention by their comeliness.

Prime Article (noun)

A handsome woman. From whip slang, meaning she is quite the thing, well done, and an excellent and bang up woman; a hell of a goer.

When you have a brush in your hand, inking a beautiful woman is a lot like running your hands over her. ~Frank Miller

Also just like last week, I think the portraiture of Sir Thomas Lawrence provides many examples of prime articles. And by the sheer number of portraits, I’d say Sir Thomas kept his metaphorical hands busy.

Lady Selina Meade, Detail, 1818-19, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

Lady Selina Meade, Detail, 1818-19, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

Sarah Barrett Moulton (Pinkie), Detail, 1795, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Sarah Barrett Moulton (Pinkie), Detail, 1795, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Rosamund Hester Elizabeth Croker, (1810-1906), Detail, 1827, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY

Rosamund Hester Elizabeth Croker, (1810-1906), Detail, 1827, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY

Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, Detail, 1819, pencil and chalk on paper, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, Detail, 1819, pencil and chalk on paper, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

Lady Robert Manners, Detail, 1826, Sir Thomas Lawrence, National Gallery of Scotland

Lady Robert Manners, Detail, 1826, Sir Thomas Lawrence, National Gallery of Scotland

 

For more portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence, considering visiting ABC Gallery.

All definitions and/or examples were taken from Cant: A Gentleman’s Guide, and 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Swell

Cloak Room at Clifton Assembly Room, Rolinda Sharples, 1817.

Cloak Room at Clifton Assembly Room, Rolinda Sharples, 1817. This painting is no doubt familiar to many Regency Romance readers as it is to found (at least in part) on over twenty book covers.

August is Romance Awareness Month, but what exactly is “romance?”

As a noun, romance is defined as the excitement associated with love, and can be everything from exquisite feelings of nostalgia and tenderness, to unrealistic expectations, exaggerations, and fantasies. Romance books and romance movies are considered idealized and sentimentalized presentations of love. As a verb, romance means to court or woo through means of love or flattery, or to engage in a love affair.

That’s a broad perspective for one simple word. No wonder Oscar Wilde swung so to and fro on the pendulum that is Romance.

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

So if romance lends itself to both idealization and nostalgia, perhaps it is fitting to search out some desirable male specimens from the Regency Period that set hearts aflutter. In celebration of Romance Awareness Month, of course. It’s time to examine the “swell.”

Swell (noun)

Portrait of an Artist, Michael Martin Drolling, 1819.

Portrait of an Artist, Michael Martin Drolling, 1819.

A gentleman, but particularly a well-dressed gentleman. A family man with plenty of the ready who cuts a genteel figure is said to be in swell street. Sometimes, when speaking of a particular person but without drawing attention or naming names, the gentleman is styled the swell.

In modern, American slang, swell has come to mean excellent or very good. For your delectation, I present my interpretation of swell, both vulgar and modern American.

The prolific portraitist Sir Thomas Lawrence (13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830) was a very dab hand at painting several swoon-worthy swells. Whether literal facsimiles or idealized interpretations, I leave it for each romantic heart to decide.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, date unknown, Sir Thomas Lawrence date unknown

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, date unknown, Sir Thomas Lawrence date unknown

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Broughan and Vaux (1778-1868), Detail, 1825, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Broughan and Vaux (1778-1868), Detail, 1825, Sir Thomas Lawrence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait of Hart Davis Jr, date unknown, private collection, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Portrait of Hart Davis Jr, date unknown, private collection, Sir Thomas Lawrence

The 4th Earl of Aberdeen, 1829, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

The 4th Earl of Aberdeen, 1829, Sir Thomas Lawrence, private collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And two distinguished older gentlemen, swell swells, if you will.

Sir Graham Moore, 1792, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Sir Graham Moore, 1792, Sir Thomas Lawrence

Portrait of Sir Harford Jones Brydges, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Lucas-Scudamore Collection

Portrait of Sir Harford Jones Brydges, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Lucas-Scudamore Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence, considering visiting ABC Gallery.

The definitions for romance were adapted from the American English version of the Oxford Dictionaries. All definitions and/or examples for swell were taken from Online Etymological DictionaryCant: A Gentleman’s Guide, and/or 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.