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page 68 REVIEW / WINTER201033PORTRAIT OF A COUNTYLondon, Poole and Hamburg, but animportant local antiquarian and RoyalSociety member. A curious portrait of1765, by little-known portraitist JohnHall, shows local entrepreneur ThomasHyde, supplier of ball clay to JosiahWedgwood. The Devis-like portrait ofRobert Henning c.1740 pointing towardshis formal garden of lush vines,demonstrates these mercantile aspirations. A highlight of the exhibition powerfullycontrasting with wealthy patricians,gentry and merchants, is the little knownportrait of Dorset boatman ThomasCoombes, aged 108, painted by WilliamHogarth in 1742. Married to JaneThornhill, Hogarth probably visited theDorset home of his father-in-law thedecorative painter Sir James Thornhill.Thomas Coombes is one of the fewportraits to show a working-man and,unusually, was painted from choice ratherthan for a commission. Other discoveriesinclude a pair of pastel portraits of theDuke and Duchess of Gloucester byHugh Douglas Hamilton and an undatedmarble portrait bust of Peter Beckford bya British sculptor working in Rome,possibly Christopher Hewetson. There will be an accompanying fullyillustrated catalogue written by GwenYarker and supported by the PaulMellon Centre for British Studies in Art,with a foreword written by the Duchessof Cornwall. The exhibition andcatalogue are structured around theReverend John Hutchins's 1774 Historyand Antiquities of the County of Dorset-an early account of an English countywritten during the 18th century. So theportraits are not ordered chronologically,or by artist, but by sitter and groupedalong social lines, from the King andpowerful landowners to the Poolemerchants, scientists, antiquarians,painters and architects. Manycontributed to Hutchins's survey, byparish, of the history, people,topography and customs of the county,literally defining Dorset. This closegeographical context provides thenarrative for the portraits of landowners,the physicians, soldiers, sailors, artists,architects, builders, lawyers, wives anddaughters revealed in Georgian Faces;Portrait of a County. Gwen Yarker is the curator of GeorgianFaces: Portrait of a County, whichshows at the Dorset County Museum,Dorchester, from 15 January-30 April,2011.

34NADFAS REVIEW / WINTER Steiff bearsold by Gamagesof Holborn in1909Right:Reproduction ofa festivelydecorateddrawing room in 1870Far right: TheGeffrye Museumat Christmas The Geffrye explores the home from1600 to today. Our focus is on theliving rooms of England's urbanmiddle classes. We aim to show how suchhomes have been used and furnished overthis period, reflecting changes in societyand patterns of behaviour as well asstyle, fashion and taste. December is a highlight in themuseum's calendar; it is when we explorethe history and cultural importance ofChristmas in England. For a month eachyear the period rooms are the backdropfor a 'walk-through Christmas past'. Bydecorating each room as authentically aspossible (as it would have been at thetime, without a film of nostalgia) wehighlight popular objects, decorations andcustoms to reflect each subsequentgeneration's attitude towards Christmas. The Geffrye was one of the firstmuseums in the UK to treat Christmasas a subject worthy of seriousconsideration. Twenty years ago wemounted our first special exhibitioncalled Christmas Past, ChristmasPresent, intending to highlight theseasonal traditions once common inEnglish homes and hoping a few peoplewould be interested. We wereastonished by the overwhelminglypositive response from visitors. Indeed,many visitors now treat an annual visit tothe exhibition as a traditional part of theirown seasonal celebrations. The tableaux presented in all the roomsare the result of much original research,slowly amassed over two decades.Every season we fine-tune displaysusing information gleaned from primarysources and adding evidence in theform of original objects where possible.Hosts ofChristmas pastChristmas customs slip in and out of fashion, with each generation creatingtheir own take on tradition. Christine Lalumiaexplores the fascinatingsocial history behind this most beloved of seasonal celebrationsGEFFRYE MUSEUMImages: © Geffrye Museum, London/James O'Davis/Steven Speller/Jayne Lloyd/BBC Homes an Antiques Magazine/Marc Schlossmann