Meet the Sharp Family: Family Dynamics, Conversation Pieces and Humour in Johan Zoffany's portrait of the Sharp family, c1779

Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Wednesday 30 January 2019 (17:00-19:00)

At this event, Amy Harris (a historian of the family) and Kate Retford (an art historian) discuss Johan Zoffany's painting of the Sharp family, currently on display at the Barber. 

Amy Harris (Brigham Young)

'With colours flying and Musick playing' The Sharp Family in Georgian England

Witty, musically talented, socially effervescent, philanthropically minded, and possessed of prodigious confidence in their abilities, the Sharp siblings of eighteenth-century England were exceptional; there is no rendering them an ordinary or average family. Exploring the Sharps’ rich archive of family correspondence, diaries, and household accounts opens a window on Georgian family dynamics, highlighting the importance of siblings; the pain and friction of conflict; and the delicate politics of marital choices.

Kate Retford (Birkbeck)

'Representing Natural Humour': Johan Zoffany and the Sharps

Kate Retford will discuss Johan Zoffany's portrait of the Sharp family in the wider context of the artist's career, and the particular category of portraiture to which it belongs: the conversation piece. In particular, she will consider how it taps into a fondness for humour which is characteristic of that artistic tradition.