This is the first book to address the long art history of dynastic marriage exchange between Denmark and Britain between 1600 and 1900, exploring portraiture, gender, and the court as a centre of cultural exchange. This work re-evaluates the construction and staging of gender in Northern consort portraiture over a span of three hundred years, examining the development of the scientific and social paradigms inflecting consort portraiture and representation, with a view to excavating portrait images' agency at the early modern moment of their conception. The consort's liminal position between royal houses, territories, languages, and religion has often been equated with political weakness, but this new work argues that this position endowed the consort with a unique space for innovation in the representation of elite identity. Each chapter is informed by new archival research and introduces the reader to little known, yet astonishing works of art. Collectively, they seek to trace a shift in practices of identity formation over time; the transition from an emphasis on rank to an increasingly binary emphasis on gender.
About the Author
Sara Ayres obtained her doctorate in Art History from Birkbeck College, University of London, in 2012. She has published in the Oxford Art Journal, the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art, and the Court Historian. Between 2016 and 2018 she held the position of the Queen Margarethe II Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Recent publications include Sculpture and the Nordic Region, 2017.