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Another test of knowledge

OK folks, after your impressive performance on the flags test, I would like you to look at the following picture and tell me when you think it was painted:

In fact, I can offer you a choice of the following people who might be the subject:

1) SIR NICHOLAS WHYTE, aged 16 in 1599, d. 1654,

2) CHARLES WHYTE, Col. in Spain, mentioned in a letter to CHARLES II from Emperor Leopold I 1683, afterwards Gov. of Co. Kildare 1689, M.P. for Naas,

3) JOHN WHYTE, m. 1704, and d. 1741,

4) CHARLES WHYTE, b. 1714, m. 24 Dec. 1751, and d. 29 Nov. 1784,

5) JOHN WHYTE, b. 1752, m. 15 Feb. 1776, d. 4 Jan. 1814.

(Yes, these are all direct male-line ancestors of mine. Yes, I know there is a large gap in generations between #1 and #3 but other evidence supports it. Yes, it is entirely possible that the subject of the painting is none of the above.)

Your help much appreciated!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2006 08:42 am (UTC)
My inclination is that it's one of the latter two, if it's any of them at all. My first instinct was really "Napoleonic era", because of the heavily brocaded buttonholes and sleeves, so that might put it at John Whyte.

It's clearly got mid-18th century traits: the coat's cut away in front, the vest is cut to hip-length (and no, I'm not cool enough to have Just Known That; I'm getting it from costumes.org), and it doesn't have either the folded-over collar or short waistcoat that was apparently the fashion in the 1780s. Nor has it got the fullness of the 1740s; after all this, I'd guess this is Charles Whyte, if it's any of them.

(Good Lord. I just noticed that costumes.org is run by one of my theatre professors in college! Maybe I'll email her and ask when *she* thinks this painting is from!)
Jun. 10th, 2006 09:19 am (UTC)
Oooh, if you know someone who could help, that would be great!
Jun. 10th, 2006 09:34 am (UTC)
I emailed her, and somebody else whose site was very useful. So we'll see if either of them answer!
Jun. 11th, 2006 11:01 am (UTC)
The costume prof came back with "1750s-1770s" without any information beyond the painting itself, and thought the most likely date was in the 1760s. Go us! :)
Jun. 10th, 2006 09:20 am (UTC)
After further research (which doubles nicely as procrastination: this is nothing like working on my book), I am pretty sure this was painted in the mid-1760s to late 1770s, probably sometime in the 70s, and that it's Charles Whyte the latter, for the following reasons:

--prior to about 1765, it appears very large, elaborate sleeves were still the dominating style in mens' coats. This was fading out by 65 or so, and the embroidery around the buttonholes and on the sleeves seems to have been fairly well established by 1770.

--Our Mr. Whyte is wearing the temple-curled powdered wig, which went out of fashion around 1780; by the 1790s it looks like people were largely wearing their natural hair in the Edwardian fashions we see in Jane Austen films. :)

--Judging from the bags under his eyes, the jowls, and the lines around Mr. Whyte's mouth, I don't think this is a young man. John Whyte would only be 25 or 30 at the tail end of these fashions, and if that's a 25 year old, he's had a very rough twenty-five years. :) OTOH, it could easily be a somewhat idealized 60 or 65 year old man.

I'm going back to work now. Really. :)
Jun. 10th, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
I agree - definitely no earlier than 18th century (the costume gives it away), so I'd say it's one of the latter two.
Jun. 10th, 2006 10:32 am (UTC)
I would suggest that it's likely to be either of the last two because of the style of clothes and from the apparent age of the man in the picture than anything else.
Jun. 10th, 2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
It has to be Charles Whyte, born 1714. And I'd guess it was painted when he was 55-60 or so. Who painted it? Maybe you can find something about the artist to help identify the subject.
Jun. 10th, 2006 01:04 pm (UTC)
The costume is solidly mid-eighteenth century with the open coat but no flared skirts, although the waistcoat looks earlier but clincher is the wig which is a later C18th style 1770's really - American War of Independence period) so it sort of has to be be later. Older men wore older fashioned clothes. It is certainly pre-Regency unless he was a real old buffer. The brocade is slightly militaristic in tone true but that could be a fashion asocited with the American War rather than the Napoleonic which is far too late. Unless number five had led an astonishingly dissipated life and had mortally offended his potrait artist (a la Goya) he would not look like this by that stage. If it is any of your listed ancestors then it has to be number 4.
Jun. 10th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
Do have a picture of an old uncle or grandfather to compare phenotype?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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