Skip to content »

JASNA-GCR's Annual Birthday Tea

Saturday, December 4, 2021
12:30—4:00 PM


The Fortnightly of Chicago
120 E. Bellevue Place
Chicago, IL 60611

Reading Portraits at Pemberley

Jeffrey Nigro

One of the many famous moments in Pride and Prejudice occurs in Volume III, Chapter I: Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt and uncle Gardiner view the works of art on display at Pemberley, most notably the portraits of Darcy and Wickham. Among other things, this passage reveals aspects of Austen’s own knowledge of the art of portraiture in her time, its functions and goals. This illustrated talk will bring the discipline of art history to bear on the portrait viewing at Pemberley, to explore how Austen and her contemporaries looked at and thought about portraits, and how those views inflect Elizabeth’s (and the Gardiners’) viewing of them; how portraits were displayed in country houses and how those installations affected viewer’s perceptions of portraits; and how Austen’s verbal descriptions of the Pemberley portraits relate to the time-honored tradition of writing about the visual arts. 


Masks Are Required.

​Cost to attend: $60
Parking is available at 100 E. Bellevue Place for $17. Credit card only (no cash.)

Our Speaker

Jeffrey Nigro is an art historian, lecturer and educator. Jeff has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for over 30 years, including serving as Director of Adult Programs in the Department of Museum Education from 2003 to 2010. He has acted as Study Leader on Art Institute sponsored trips to Italy, Greece, and Germany, and he has received the Art Institute Chairman’s Award for outstanding service. Jeff is currently a Research Associate in the Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Learning and Public Engagement at the Art Institute. He teaches Adult Education Seminars at the Newberry Library and is an Instructor at the Center for Life and Learning in Chicago. Jeff is the former Regional Coordinator of the Greater Chicago region of JASNA.



Image information: Sir Thomas Lawrence, Lord Granville Leveson-Gower, later 1st Lord Granville, c. 1804-1809, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut