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Lady Charlotte Fitzroy and her Indian Page Revisited

Submitted by afrocentric on Mon, 06/07/2015 - 23:53

After engaging in some discussions to put my observations about the significance about black people in European paintings it is so apparent how some people refuse to take a hint and need everything spelt out to them in detail. On account of this have revisited my previous post to make my argument as explicit as I can.

The similarity of the facial features of the 'Indian Boy' and paintings of a younger Charles are very evident and there is no need to rehash them here. The fact that Charles' mother called him the Black Boy and that he was also called the Black Bastard by his detractors should be enough, but we can go to the painting itself.

First of all let us study the attire of the page boy. He is dressed in a robe made of gold cloth, long enough to drag on the ground when he kneels, and doesn't seem to care that it will get muddy or torn up. He obviously has some one to clean it up and repair it for him it gets damaged.

Another point is the fact that he is sandalled, compared with his mistress who is barefooted. Why should the pageboy be wearing sandals and his mistress barefooted? Is it an indication of the lower rank of the girl? The significance of the bare foot is something I will come to again.

Now let us take a look at some other portraits of Charles and a few of his sons. In fact my original thought was that the boy in the picture represented one of Charles's sons, such as that of Charles Lennox below

Charles Lennox, 1672 - 1723, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox as a Child

Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond

The Roman sandals are very much in evidence.

Now for the matter of the exposed leg.

Charlotte Fitzroy's mother, Barbara Villiers was one of Charles's mistresses. You can read all the details on Wikipedia and elsewhere. Bottom line is she was a courtesan, or as the less kind would say, a prostitute, who won over Charles with her extravagant charms and become one of the most influential women of the time under Charles's patronage. The bare leg displayed in the portrait is clearly an allusion to her charms, tempting Charles with a sneak peak, with more to follow. Without knowledge of the background the significance of that pose is not so obvious, and one does not wish to openly associate children with such a theme. But once it is seen that the image of the girl expresses the seductive charms of her mother, the boy must represent Charles himself, whose attraction to the opposite sex to well renowned.

What we have here is a painting of a doting father with his daughter, with overtones of his relationship with the girl's mother, rather unlike the recently discovered painting of Nell Gwyn and her African servant, which leaves little to the imagination.

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