Strategies for Showing: Women, Possession, and Representation in English Visual Culture, 1665-1800

By Marcia Pointon | Go to book overview

might give food for thought. What I have demonstrated is the way in which, as texts (multifaceted and open to interpretation), these documents permit a new understanding of the affective aspects of possession, of how women felt about the things they owned, and how they employed the fact of their possession in the expectation of exercising influence.


Notes
1.
Harley was the son and heir of Sir Edward Harley of Brampton Castle, Herefordshire; he assisted his father in raising a troop of horse for the Revolution in 1688; he became Sheriff of Hereford in 1689; major in the Hertfordshire militia in 1696; MP for Tregony 1689-go and for Radnor in 9 parliaments before 1711; Commissioner of Public Accounts 1690-7; Speaker of the House of Commons in 3 parliaments 1701-5; Chancellor and Under Treasurer of Exchequer 1710-11. He was created Baron Harley of Wigmore 23 May 1711 and was dismissed by Queen Anne on her death-bed.
2.
Robert's brother, Sir Edward Harley, Auditor, married Elizabeth's sister Sarah Foley ( 1675-1721), who is commemorated by a lavish wall monument in Brampton Bryan parish church, erected by her husband in 1724. The facts that their children had names in common with Robert's and Elizabeth's offspring, that both families lost sons named Robert in infancy, and that Sir Edward's son (also Edward) succeeded Robert Harley's son Edward as 3rd Earl creates a situation in which considerable caution is needed in the reading of documents.
3.
For the early history of the Harleys, see J. Eales, Puritans and Roundheads: The Harleys of Brampton Bryan and the Outbreak of the English Civil War ( Cambridge, 1990).
4.
See B. W. Hill, Robert Harley: Speaker, Secretary of State and Premier Minister (New Haven 1988), 9.
5.
The Foley family home of Witley Court was built by Elizabeth's grandfather and trans- formed by her brother, who succeeded in 1683. It was transformed into an elaborate palace in the early 19th cent. and burnt down in 1937. The ruins are in the care of English Heritage. The remarkable rococo church ( James Gibbs?) was begun in 1732 and contains Rysbrack's distinguished monument to the 1st Baron Foley and his family (see M. Baker, ' Rysbrack's Terracotta Model of Lady Foley and her Daughter and the Foley Monument at Great Witley', Stadel Jahrbuch, NS 2 ( 1987), 261-8).
6.
Sir Godfrey Kneller's portrait shows Robert Harley in his robes as Lord High Treasurer. The portrait was copied many times (e.g. National Portrait Gallery) and also engraved by George Vertue.
7.
Largely, it has to be said, through transcripts published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission rather than from the originals.
8.
Hill, Robert Harley, 9.
9.
A. McInnes, Robert Harley, Puritan Politician ( London, 1970), 178.
10.
See e.g. S. Biddle, Bolingbroke and Harley ( 1973; London, 1975), 19-20.
11.
See Hill, Robert Harley, 17.
12.
Robert Harley to Elizabeth Harley, London, 11 May 1689, BL Add. MS 70270.
13.
Robert Harley to Elizabeth Harley, 4 June 1689, BL Add. MS 70270.
14.
Robert Harley to Elizabeth Harley, 6 June 1689, BL Add. MS 70270.
15.
Robert Harley to Elizabeth Harley, 8 June 1689, BL Add. MS 70270.
16.
See Elizabeth's reference in her letter of 8 July 1690 to 'Neday' being 'very fond of his littel brother' and on 1 July 1690 to 'Littel Roben' doing very well and being 'a very hartey sucker'.

-49-

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