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Re-dressing Classical Statuary: The Eighteenth-Century "Hand-in-Waistcoat" Portrait

Arline Meyer
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 77, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 45-63
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3046079
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3046079
Page Count: 19
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Re-dressing Classical Statuary: The Eighteenth-Century "Hand-in-Waistcoat" Portrait
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Abstract

A product of the nationalistic sentiment kindled in the years following the Restoration, the familiar "hand-in-waistcoat" portrait type became a veritable English hallmark. This visualization of national character was molded especially in the context of increasing Anglo-French rivalry by reviving an ancient argument about decorous public behavior. In withdrawing the "speaking hand" England censured the gestural exuberance of the French rhetorical style with its Catholic and absolutist associations, and forged a natural, modest, and reticent image that was sanctioned by classical precedent.

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