Romantic Circles Gallery
La Promenade en Famille – a Sketch from Life

Description: 

Dorothy Jordan, clad in a masculine riding dress has an open playbook in hand, “Act III. Enter Little Pickle." The Duke of Clarence, slightly ahead and in front of her, pulls the miniature royal carriage containing three of their children on a path in Bushey Park. His coat pockets are brimming with toys, a handkerchief partially hiding his facial features emerges from beneath his hat, revealing the heat of the day. The eldest child, a young boy, raises a small whip in his hand, a puppy in a young girl’s lap partially covers her face, and an infant between them is crying angrily. A signpost standing almost even with Clarence shows them directed toward “Bushy” and coming from “Richmond.”

Accession Number: 

797.4.23.1
Unknown
La Promenade en Famille – a Sketch from Life appeared for sale and/or viewing in Hannah Humphrey’s print shops on New Bond Street and St. James Street, London, April 23, 1797.
The Duke of Clarence had been appointed ranger of Bushey Park in January 1797; from this point on, he and Dorothy Jordan lived primarily in its residence until he ended their relationship in 1811 (P. Ranger, Oxford DNB).


Humphrey and Gillray were in the process of moving print shop and residence from New Bond Street to their final location at 27 St. James Street, easily accessible from royal residence and in the heart of the upper-class aristocratic West End neighborhood.
Bushey Park and Richmond: Through his position as ranger of Bushey Park from 1797 onward, the Duke of Clarence gained access to Bushey House, where he and Dorothy Jordon lived together from 1797 to 1811 (P. Ranger, "William IV" Oxford DNB). Richmond refers to the London borough Richmond Upon Thames, where Jordan acted throughout the 1790s and early 1800s.
William Hogarth’s Evening, from the Four Times of Day series published in 1738 is a model for Gillray’s design for a family stroll, led by the pregnant and adulterous wife (C. McCreery, Satirical Gaze 109). With this connection, part of Gillray’s satire is a levelling of the Duke’s royal position with an ordinary citizen.
Dorothy Jordan, clad in a masculine riding dress has an open playbook in hand, “Act III. Enter Little Pickle." The Duke of Clarence, slightly ahead and in front of her, pulls the miniature royal carriage containing three of their children on a path in Bushey Park. His coat pockets are brimming with toys, a handkerchief partially hiding his facial features emerges from beneath his hat, revealing the heat of the day. The eldest child, a young boy, raises a small whip in his hand, a puppy in a young girl’s lap partially covers her face, and an infant between them is crying angrily. A signpost standing almost even with Clarence shows them directed toward “Bushy” and coming from “Richmond.”
The masculine-style riding dresses were often worn by women in caricature to imply their power over (or desire for power over) men or other women, in this case by inverting the traditional household roles (C. McCreery, Satirical Gaze 110). The toy boats in the Duke’s pockets point to his popular persona, “Nauticus” and allude his feminine caretaker role in the relationship. On the royal carriage, the chamber pot depicted beneath the crown alludes to the coincidental colloquial for chamber pots, “jordan.”
A national interest in the theater pervaded both upper and middle-class, city and provincial culture: the lives of actresses like Jordan and her fellow prima donnas, most notably Elizabeth Farren and Sarah Siddons were open to the public (M.D. George, Social Change 99) and this print caters to that openness. But “real” women were not meant to pursue their careers over their family and leave her male counterpart to take over her role: the danger in doing so is setting a poor example for the children, who “will grow up to be as selfish and immoral as their mother” and a “liability on the royal family.” At the same time, actresses and courtesans faced social barriers due to their historical conflation with prostitution; receiving enough approval to be introduced into aristocratic circles by their lovers made their “difference” only more striking (C. McCreery, Satirical Gaze 112). In this way, Gillray’s print embodies the complication of prescribed female roles and the overlap of marked spheres, the belief in which was a fundamental aspect to Romantic culture.
This print has a twofold purpose: to entertain the public with a scene from the life of highly viewed figures: royalty and actresses or courtesans together provided a double-delight. It also comments on the moral repercussions of inverting gender roles.
Brock, Michael. “William IV (1765-1837)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008. 30 March 2009 [http://www.oxforddnb.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/view/article/29451?docPos=5].


George, M. Dorothy. Hogarth to Cruikshank: Social Change in Graphic Satire. New York: Walker and Company, 1967.


McCreery, Cindy. The Satirical Gaze: Prints of Women in Late Eigteenth-Century England. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2004.


Ranger, Paul. “Jordan, Dorothy (1761-1816).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2006. 30 March 2009 [http://www.oxforddnb.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/view/article/15119].
La Promenade en Famille - a Sketch from Life

Engraver: 

Delineator: 

Image Date: 

23 April 1797

Publisher: 

Hannah Humphrey

Creation Technique: