"William Townsend"...English nobility and vividness of details |  Gulf newspaper

“William Townsend”…English nobility and vividness of details | Gulf newspaper

Sharjah: Othman Hassan

Maria Verlist (1680-1744) descended from a distinguished artistic family that emerged in the mid-seventeenth century until the mid-18th century. ).

She was born in Vienna, but was later known as an English artist, as she moved with her family to London at the age of three, after the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire, and after her father’s success, she later became his student, and showed exceptional ingenuity in drawing, and quickly established her name, and the oldest recorded painting of her dates back to 1695, aged 14, is said to depict William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1626-1695).

Ferlist painted many works, including 13 portraits of James Bridges, 1st Duke of Chandos (1673-1744), and was known for her interest in the art of miniatures, and excelled in portraits, and her biography indicates that she was a language teacher, and mastered Dutch and Latin in addition to English.

In the second decade of the 18th century, Maria painted landscapes with stylized natural backgrounds, and her depiction of uniforms, whether for men or women, was her favorite, in addition to her interest in feminine themes through her drawings of women with models and fabrics established in the time in which she lived.

She also worked with Sir James Thornhill (1675 – 1734), a specialist in historical painting and the Italian Baroque tradition, who was responsible for some large mural plans.


Fierlust’s paintings were distinguished by their amazing elegance, especially in terms of the use of colors, and the drawing of clothes that appear in their drawings that appear polished or bright. She also excelled in highlighting her paintings with meticulous craftsmanship, especially in the final composition, which is clearly shown in one of her most famous paintings, entitled (Noble William Townsend). who lived between (1702 – 1738) and was a prominent member of the British Parliament at the time, the third son of Charles Townsend, nicknamed the second Viscount, and the viscount was a title used in ancient Europe to describe varying classes of nobility, and was often associated with administrative or judicial affairs. William is “Elizabeth Pelham”, known as the first wife of his father Charles, who was elected to the House of Commons for Great Yarmouth in 1723, a seat he held until his death.


In drawing this painting, Maria benefited from her mastery in the arts of miniatures, and the craft of shaping the details, and she was keen to show her characters, each according to her job, position and position in the government corps, and in most of what she painted of women, children and nobles who were famous in that era, she was keen to highlight the features of the face. In the drawn models, and highlighting social status, including highlighting the shape and details of the dress or outfit, as it appears in her depiction of the noble William Townsend, who appeared in the form of a sober young man, wearing a medal or a rank of knight, which is the lace or scarf that distinguished statesmen from English origins.. This scarf usually consists of an embroidered piece of cloth, placed on the shoulder, and is often made of sumptuous cloth with blue velvet, whereby the knight is worn.


In the same context, Ferelst was faithful to the traditions of painting in the 18th century, where the arts in that period were concerned with embodying the value and moral aspect, and concern for family ties, especially among the upper classes. Here, the painting highlights the pride of the ruling family, which is reflected in many experiences The art of portraiture by the middle of the 18th century, and the painting “Noble William” is the best embodiment of this stage. Images of nobility and prevailing aristocratic concepts.


Stylistically, Maria’s portraits can be considered with characteristics and features that take into account the origins of art, where depth, color richness, and sensual elegance. In this vein, Maria painted many figures and scenes, which some estimated to be about 40 works.. For example: Portrait of Lady Smith, a portrait of a woman in a white and silver dress, a portrait of the Duke of Marlborough, a portrait of a woman, Lady Middleton, a portrait of a man, a seated woman wearing A yellow dress with a wooded landscape behind her, a portrait of a woman and a country estate in the distance, a portrait of the Duke of Chandos in the dressing room..etc.


William Townsend married Henrietta, daughter of Lord William Paulette, in May 1725, Townsend died in January 1738 at the age of 35, and his wife died in 1755.

The painter’s insistence was to show William Townsend in his youth with the scarf, as a sign of the rank he was holding at the time, with the scarf tied to the leg, bouncing back to the top, and extending to the rider’s left.

This painting, which is in a group depicting his two brothers, Thomas and Elizabeth, among the belongings of Maria Verliste, includes pictures of famous nobles, and ruling families, women, youth and children, between the years (1710 and 1715), and she acquired the skill of designing cloth by drawing inspiration from landscaping, where he was She has her own studio for these graphics.

Maria and language

According to an anecdote which depicts her linguistic prowess, published in 1730, Maria was at the Dore Lane Theater when she heard some of those sitting nearby praising her in German, but she answered them and corrected their words, in fine German, and after their shock the men continued to speak, and here In Italian, it was only from Ferlist that she answered them again, and the men continued to speak but in Latin, and the matter was repeated when Maria answered them in Latin, and she said to one of them: Do you think you have the right to speak Latin more than women, is it not enough that our sex is removed Is really feminine out of public conversations apart from keeping women out of language as well?

The men were so moved that they inquired about her profession, and came to visit her the next day with gifts and asked for their portraits.

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