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Clarissa's painter: portraiture, illustration, and representation in the novels of Samuel Richardson

Clarissa's painter: portraiture, illustration, and representation in the novels of Samuel Richardson

Shepherd, Lynn, 1964-

There has been renewed interest in the intersection of the visual and the verbal in Samuel Richardson's novels, from his use of spatial and pictorial imagery to contemporary illustrations. This monograph looks at issues of visual and verbal representation in Richardson from the perspective of 18th-century portraiture

Hardback, Book. English.
Published Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009
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Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – One available in Main Collection 823.5 RIC/S

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00284001 Main Collection 823.5 RIC/S Standard Available


Statement of responsibility: Lynn Shepherd
ISBN: 0199566690, 9780199566693
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: 288 p. : ill.
Series: Oxford English monographs
Subject: Illustration of books 18th century.; Richardson, Samuel; Literature.; Richardson, Samuel, 1689-1761 Criticism and interpretation.; Mimesis in literature.; Portraits in literature.; Art and literature England History 18th century.; Imagery (Psychology) in literature.
Series Title: Oxford English monographs.


  1. Introducion
  2. 1. Samuel Richardson's Paintive Art
  3. 2. Eighteenth-Century Portraiture: From, Use, Meaning, Spectatorship
  4. 3. Richardson's first novel: Images of Pamela from Carwitham to Highmore
  5. 4. 'Now for a likeness to illustrate the surprising scene': Portraiture and representation in Clarissa
  6. 5. 'I am a painter, madam': Portraiture and representation in Sir Charles Grandison
  7. Conclusion: Richardson's legacy: Portraiture and representation in Mansfield Park
  8. Bibliography
  9. Index


Samuel Richardson's novels have always been a particularly fertile seam for literary study, and in recent years they have been the subject of a whole range of different approaches, from the political and feminist, to those concerned with formal questions such as genre and epistolary technique. Richardson has also attracted considerable interest from an interdisciplinary perspective, with studies focusing on the pictorial and spatial elements of his works, and the

illustrations he commissioned for Pamela. This extensively-illustrated monograph takes this approach one step further, and looks at issues of visual and verbal representation in Richardson from the perspective of eighteenth-century portraiture.

Richardson first became conversant with the conventions of contemporary portraiture in the wake of the phenomenal success of Pamela. It was then that he commissioned his first portrait, and became involved in the process of producing illustrations for the lavish sixth edition of the novel. This study makes the case that these two events combined to give Richardson a new vocabulary for the depiction of individual character, and the articulation of power, affection, and control within

the family, and between men and women. We can see the first signs of this in Pamela II, which is so often dismissed and so little read, but it reaches its full maturity in the rich three-dimensionality of Clarissa. Moreover it is Richardson's use of the conventions of contemporary portraiture in Sir Charles

Grandison that explains many of the tensions and inconsistencies within that text, and makes the reader's response to Richardson's 'good man' so ambivalent.


Lynn Shepherd's monograph is an enjoyable contribution to this field ... Shepherd's interesting and insightful observations will nonetheless force other scholars working on Richardson to take note.
Warren Oakley, Notes and Queries||In this handsomely written book, Lynn Shepherd builds on her extensive knowledge of art history and fine interpretative skills.
Jocelyn Harris, Times Literary Supplement||a significant contribution to the study of Richardson's work and fosters a deeper understanding of his literary descendants
New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century||impressive ... illuminating ... Reading this book sends one back not only to Richardson's etxts but to other eighteenth- and nineteenth-century works with renewed ways of seeing, as well as reading, the novel
Louise Curran, English Studies