all internal chatter; patches for a virtual quilt
Oil on canvas, previously attributed to Johann Zoffany, 1779;
Dido Elizabeth Belle is depicted here with her cousin Elizabeth Murray. This painting scandalised many of it’s 18th century audience due to its portrayal of Belle, a woman of colour, in a non-subservient position. Considered to be one of the first paintings to do so, it was probably commissioned by Belle’s father Admiral Sir John Lindsay in the late 1770’s.
"My greatest misfortune would be to marry into a family who would carry me as their shame as I have been required to carry my own mother. Her apparent crime to be born negro and mine to be the evidence. Since I wish to deny her no more than I wish to deny myself you will pardon me for wanting a husband who feels ‘forgiveness’ of my bloodline is both unnecessary and without grace."