Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Tanya Tiffany

Committee Members

Derek Counts


Batoni, Fashion, Georgian Britain, Georgian Era, Grant Tour, Pompeo Batoni


Portrait artist to popes, royalty, and nobility, Pompeo Batoni was hailed as the premier portrait painter in Rome during his career in the mid to late eighteenth century. Batoni’s reputation as the de rigueur portraitist amongst wealthy British Grand Tourists was solidified by the late 1750s, and he dominated this market until his death in 1787. This thesis will examine the different types of fashion displayed in Batoni’s Grand Tour portraits, and argue that many of the Georgian men depicted paid great attention to their dress and how it augmented their self-fashioned identities. The portrayal of British patrons in French-inspired continental dress, a style of clothing that was often ridiculed and seen as ostentatious at home, was integral to the images that Georgian aristocrats constructed of themselves as cosmopolitan elites worthy of being members of the ruling class. By exploring both the clothing itself and the cultural contexts in which such dress was appropriate, I will demonstrate that Batoni’s Grand Tour portraits went beyond naturalistic representation and were in fact carefully executed portrayals of how Georgian elites wished to view themselves, and how they wished to be viewed by their peers and social subordinates. Consideration of these aspects of Batoni’s Grand Tour portraits will provide new insight into the role of clothing in the literal self-fashioning of elite Georgian men, an avenue under-explored in the context of art history.