Birth Order Theory & The Georgian Family Portrait

I haven’t posted many Georgian family portraits, mostly because they tend to show domestic affairs in a retiring light, but I do enjoy John Lee and His Family by John Russell. Unlike many portraits of listless heads, John Lee’s Family appears bursting with personality.  This is despite the fact that a) the children are dressed in today’s equivalent of white t-shirts in group photos, and b) they share outgrown bowl style haircuts.  Kinda cute, actually.

Although there aren’t any definite indicators of sex like we would use today, I’m inclined to say the three central children are male while the remaining three are female.  The two golden haired children around the mother also look like twins, but again, reckless speculation.  You, readers, will simply have to give me your take as I have thrown research out the window and had my fun labeling the children with their respective (and imaginary roles).

John Lee and His Family by John Russell (1809)

click to enlarge

What do you think?  Have I got it all wrong and maligned the children?  Is birth order theory a sham?  And what about Dad?  Do you have a read on him or another interpretation of the family?  Leave me your comments. I’d love to hear them!

Susan Ardelie is the author of Shadow Fire Lady, the first book in the Incorporeal Lords series, a historical paranormal romance.  

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4 thoughts on “Birth Order Theory & The Georgian Family Portrait

  1. Your labeling made me laugh,and I think you got it just right. Dad looks a little bemused to me, as if he’s thinking “How on earth did I get here?” He looks rather young to have quite so many children.

  2. Very funny commentary! Daddy’s girl all the way!

    Though you just touched on the subject, I think birth order does have a significant role in the development of certain personalities within the family.

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