The Voices of Men in Praise of Jane Austen
Messages on the Bulletin Board - c. Nov. 15, 2001


Dear Folks,

A good reference is this web site composed of links to the works of George Romney.

George Romney (1734-1802) was, along with Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, one of the most important British portrait painters of the 18th century. He might not be remembered as well if not for the fact that his most frequent sitter was Emily Hart (née Lyons), later the Lady Emma Hamilton.

Emma entertained company with her "attitudes" - a kind of Romantic aesthetic posturing achieved with the aid of shawls and classical draperies.

Jeeze! Well, I say, "when you got it, flaunt it!" I have heard it said that great good looks require a hint of vulnerability to make it all work. - Lady Hamilton was gorgeous.

Lady Hamilton as Circe
A: Lady Hamilton as Circe

This portrait was one of more than twenty - I say twenty - that Romney painted of his "divine lady," many in the guise of characters from history, mythology, and literature. So, Romney joins the French painter Elizabeth Louise Vigée le Brun (1755-1842) in a fascination with this lovely woman of English history. (See le Brun's portraits of Lady Hamilton as well as these brief comments, then these, and then these on Admiral Nelson's famous mistress.)

And what about the principal men in her life? What did they look like?

Sir William Hamilton
B: Sir William Hamilton
Portrait by George Romney
Admiral Lord Nelson
C: Admiral Lord Nelson
Portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbot (1798-9)

Both are handsome, masculine-looking men to be sure; but, Hamilton was much older when he married Emma and we are not shown Nelson's withered arm or blinded eye.

Well, getting back to Lady Hamilton and George Romney - here are two more of those classical poses ("attitudes"). By the way, don't we see a depiction of "attitudes" in the recent film An Ideal Husband? If so, and if historically accurate, then the pastime lasted into the Victorian period.

Lady Hamilton - 1785
D: Lady Hamilton - 1785
Portrait by George Romney
Lady Hamilton as Miranda
E: Lady Hamilton as Miranda
Study by George Romney

That's my very favorite on the right. It's not really a portrait - more a "study", which means a sketch made in preparation for a portrait.

Let me provide two more:

Lady Hamilton as Nature
F: Lady Hamilton as Nature
Portrait by George Romney
Mrs. Davies Davenport
G: Mrs. Davies Davenport
Portrait by George Romney

I included that last one lest you gain the mistaken impression that Lady Hamilton was the only beautiful Englishwoman in Jane Austen's time.

Now to my main point: everyone knows that a little learning is a dangerous thing, but I know that a lot of learning is a confusing thing. I mean that I have given you the standard, scholarly identifications of these portraits; but - come on - someone with half a brain just knows that they are actually Romney's series on characters in Jane Austen's novels. (Some of you are confused by irrelevant scientific notions like the fact that Romney died before our Lady published.) So, in order to clear away the fog, I have made the correct identifications and here they are.

A: Mary Crawford
C: Admiral Croft
E: Marianne Dashwood
G: Emma Woodhouse

B: George Knightley
D: Anne Elliot
F: Jane Bennet
H: Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy

Dear Folks,

Can it be that the Meister shares his silliness with the Master?

I want to discuss my idiotic posting of Nov. 15 in which I re-identified some of the portraits of the period as characters from Jane Austen novels. Well, I mean you might say "idiotic"; however, I assure you that I have permission from higher authority. You demand documentary proof? Well then, here it is. I excerpt from the letter written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra on Monday, May 24, 1813. That is letter #85 in the most recent collection of her letters and #61 in the Brabourne collection. Here is a link to the full text of the letter (it will appear in a separate window). Our Lady had recently published Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Jane was staying with her brother Henry in London when the two of them decided to visit an exhibition of portraits.

"... Henry and I went to the Exhibition in Spring Gardens. It is not thought a good collection, but I was very well pleased--particularly (pray tell Fanny) with a small portrait of Mrs Bingley, excessively like her. I went in hopes of seeing one of her Sister, but there was no Mrs Darcy;--perhaps, however, I may find her in the Great Exhibition, which we shall go to if we have time;--I have no chance of her in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds's paintings, which is now shewing in Pall Mall, and which we are also to visit.--Mrs Bingley's is exactly herself--size, shaped face, features & sweetness; there never was a greater likeness. She is dressed in a white gown, with green ornaments, which convinces me of what I had always supposed, that green was a favourite colour with her. I dare say Mrs D. will be in yellow. ..."

Further down, in that same letter, we find,

"--Monday eveng-- We have been both to the Exhibition & Sir J. Reynolds's, and I am disappointed, for there was nothing like Mrs D. at either. I can only imagine that Mr D. prizes any picture of her too much to like it should be exposed to the public eye.--I can imagine he wd have that sort of feeling--that mixture [of] Love, Pride, & Delicacy. Setting aside this disappointment, I had great amusement among the Pictures; & the Driving about, the Carriage been [sic] open, was very pleasant.--I liked my solitary elegance very much, & was ready to laugh all the time at my being where I was.--I could not but feel that I had naturally small right to be parading about London in a Barouche.-- ..."

So, there is my authorization and, I may say, a good deal more besides. For example, I think the view of Darcy expressed in that letter is echoed best at this Male-Voices web site - not so well elsewhere on the Internet. Also, I now have license to be totally fascinated by the portraits of Jane Austen's time.

Dear Ash,

Sorry, but I took you quite seriously!  IMHO you had it quite right.

I do believe that you have proved one thing - that we Janites all seem to take after our Lady when it comes to our sense of humor.  Maybe that is why we like her so much, she reminds us of us.

If I ever wade through all the books I have, there is no telling what all I might find - but then the "journey" is what it's all about.

Reference: The thread
begun by Linda on 10/4/01

Dear People,

I do not believe in something like a God, because of the reasons stated below:

Dear Anonymous,

Since I am somewhat unorthodox, let me begin with a Christian {{{hug}}}!  Please remember these are my opinions, so don't confuse them with other people's religion.

You say,
    "I do not believe in something like a God, because of the reasons stated below:
          1)In science everything must have a reason.

So does My God.

By the way, I am not like 'most people'. I am not 'tested' I am in 'training'. You are right - that is not the reason.  Since the 'reason' is training, there can be a result - an improved human.

Now you have said a mouthful and with all due respect, where did the "stuff" for this "CHANCE" to happen come from? To me this question is the crux of the matter. I will await your answer rather than go into a 'what if' conversation with myself. Especially since you say later on that "Science is built on facts and proofs". "Facts," please. I was not there when that happened and I don't think anyone else was either.

I understand what you are saying but I refer you to my question above about this "chance".

I am not 'most religions' - I cannot answer for them. I don't believe in 'going to heaven or hell'. What I do believe is another long story I will relate only if you are interested.

I am not familiar with that religion.

As I said, I don't believe in the traditional, orthodox heaven and hell. I believe we all get eternal life eventually - each in his/her own order.

Your logic is not relevant in my case because I don't believe in your results (heaven or hell).  [If there was a God such as you describe with a possibility of heaven or hell, then your logic is correct.]  No, I would not believe in an unfair God - MY God is fair because everyone gets eternal life.  MY God also has attributes that are male and female, as in Fatherly and Motherly characteristics.  I grew up scared of this big domineering God.  But when the realization hit me that He was my Heavenly Father - I thought of him as I did my earthly Father who meant me no harm, only good.  At that moment I lost the fear which was replaced with Love.

MY God created science. In my opinion, 'true' science and the Bible agree. The term 'true science' eliminates those hoaxes perpetrated by men who are trying to prove a point by fudging the facts.  Science agrees with the Bible when the Bible is properly translated and understood. There is no contradiction.  Please know that I grew up in an orthodox church, but had to study many years before I came to the conclusions I am relating here.  A lot of what I am saying has only been around maybe 40 years, and I only heard this stuff in the last 25 years.

I had previously mentioned 'free will'.  The first time I heard that our will was not free, I was quite repulsed because "I was not a robot!" thank you very much!  When I understood the concept that we do have a 'will' and we do make choices to resist the plan of God temporarily, it made more sense.  As in the Father - child relationship, the child is in training and resists the will of his Father until he learns that it is best not to do that.

This has not been proven to my satisfaction and I refer you to my question "where does the 'stuff' come from?"  I just happen to have two tapes about Creationism vs. Evolution on hand, and evolution lost.  I am quite willing to listen to both sides, so when they rerun the evolution series on PBS I will look at it or any thing else you may care to recommend.

As long as it is 'true' science and not some hoax.  Evidently you have not ran into "my religion" which does have some relevant proofs.  We may not know the exact date that dinosaurs were on this earth from the Bible, but we know it was a long time ago and that is good enough for our purposes.

I interpret these facts to mean that God made them that way, not that they evolved. And I can't understand why my interpretation is not as valid as yours.

The tapes I saw did not come to the same conclusion. Some were hoaxes, and others were drawings based on something as small as a tooth, etc. I cannot understand how they can do that. If I gave them my sister's recently pulled tooth could they accurately draw a picture of her?  I have my doubts. Why didn't they do just that to prove their accuracy?

I think I have seen this on TV.  Interesting, but not entirely conclusive to my satisfaction if it claims to be 'scientific'.  I don't doubt that apes can learn; I question their conclusions about it.

You have answered your own question - Man, indeed!

Good question! Not in this Age, but there is a Kingdom coming - and soon. There is much more I could say, but this would turn into a dissertation.  I do hope I have said enough to at least give you my perspective on the subject.  Please feel free to ask any further questions and/or ask for references.  I appreciate your interest knowing that you have an inquisitive mind. I may be on in years but I am still willing to learn. To paraphrase Mr. Darcy, "I shall conquer this - %#$ Computer!" I am collecting Jane Austen's beliefs as found in her writings and find her Spiritual life not so very different from mine.
Love from Linda


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