A Feminist Princess, Circa 1800?

THE DAILY PIC: At NYPL, a print by a royal may reflect on her role as breeder


THE DAILY PIC (#1497): Taking in the dozens of works in “Printing Women: Three Centuries of Female Printmakers, 1570–1900,” at the New York Public Library, it’s almost impossible not to search for some expression of a female sensibility and for subjects that speak of the female condition – even though it has always been perfectly possible for women to channel a fully male, even patriarchal ethos.

Today’s Pic is an 1806 etching by Princess Elizabeth, seventh child of King George III of England and Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. In theory, it’s an allegorical treatment of the Power of Love, in the (sexist) form of a woman being bound and led by Cupid. But can’t it now – couldn’t it then – bear a more literal reading? What if Elizabeth secretly meant it to be all about the way that women (especially the “broodmares” of royal families) were bound and led by the children they bore, and the fertility that made them valuable?

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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