The gift: dare quam accipere
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The gift: dare quam accipere book
Robert Edge Pine portrays the Earl of Northumberland, patron of the Middlesex Hospital, laying the foundation stone of the new hospital building in Marybone Fields (Figure 5.1). The celebration of an occasion like this is not in itself unusual. However, the style of portrait might at first seem out of kilter with the event being recorded. Unlike the account that appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine, this is not a documentary piece.1 Instead, Pine depicts Northumberland in Grand Manner fashion where this act of charity is recorded with the rhetorical flourish of the Academy.2 Indeed, Pine was a leading portrait artist of the day and sometimes seen as having the potential to rival Sir Joshua Reynolds.3 Northumberland’s choice of portraitist is not then unusual for his status and rank. It is more his choice of how he was represented laying the foundation stone of the new Middlesex Hospital that is of interest here. Grand Manner portraits usually made reference to the sitter’s social and cultural superiority by representing them in classical guise or showing their collections of antiquities and classical architecture. These art works both represent and reinforce the social bonds that were formed through cultural activities. It is the practice of patronage that is important here as artists, architects, musicians and assorted others had to please their gentlemen clients in order to earn a living.