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Portrait of a Woman in SilkHidden Histories of the British Atlantic World$
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Zara Anishanslin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300197051

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300197051.001.0001

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The Bermuda Group in Newport

The Bermuda Group in Newport

George Berkeley and Feke’s Painterly Craft

(p.241) 13. The Bermuda Group in Newport
Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Zara Anishanslin

Yale University Press

This chapter continues the discussion of the work of Robert Feke. Feke was deeply connected to transatlantic networks of print and visual culture, and to the erudite people like Dr. Alexander Hamilton who circulated such things as they traveled around the British Atlantic. Feke's first known commission—the group portrait of Isaac Royall and his family (1741)—came out of a failed imperial project meant to inspire people to choose the laborious path of virtue rather than the easy road to vice. In this case, that project was Anglo-Irish cleric George Berkeley's plan to build a college in Bermuda. Placing Feke's body of work within the context of John Smibert's portrait The Bermuda Group (from which Feke modeled his group portrait of the Royalls) and Berkeley's imperial project shows that his work also explored ideas about the colonies as a regenerative site for the British Empire.

Keywords:   Robert Feke, painters, artists, George Berkeley, Bermuda, British Empire, group portrait, Isaac Royall, Alexander Hamilton, John Smibert

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