Artibus et Historiae no. 75 (XXXVIII)

2017, ISSN 0391-9064

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CATHERINE HUNT - The Saltonstall Family: A Study of Time, Space and Memory (pp. 181–193)

David Des Granges’ The Saltonstall Family (1636–1637, Tate, London) might be regarded as a family memorial, recording the wives and children of Sir Richard Saltonstall. The presence of two wives, one living, one dead, evokes the traditions of memorial tombs, where several wives often lie side by side. However there are some curious elements to this portrait, most notably the partly open door at the foot of the bed and the gesture placed centrally in the composition in which Sir Richard Saltonstall dangles a glove over the hand of his deceased wife. This article explores both of these elements, arguing that the glove gesture relates to specific concerns about dynasty and inheritance. It will also examine the ways in which the door, in particular, and the compositional structure more generally have been used to convey complex ideas about time.

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